Synopses & Reviews
Sixteen-year-old Jacques Rebière is living a humble life in rural France, studying butterflies and frogs by candlelight in his bedroom. Across the Channel, in England, the playful Thomas Midwinter, also sixteen, is enjoying a life of ease-and is resigned to follow his father's wishes and pursue a career in medicine.
A fateful seaside meeting four years later sets the two young men on a profound course of friendship and discovery; they will become pioneers in the burgeoning field of psychiatry. But when a female patient at the doctors' Austrian sanatorium becomes dangerously ill, the two men's conflicting diagnosis threatens to divide them--and to undermine all their professional achievements. From the bestselling author of Birdsong comes this masterful novel that ventures to answer challenging questions of consciousness and science, and what it means to be human.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Though the work is somewhat confined by the period framework, Faulks paints a tableux of 19th-century life that is remarkably revealing. Epic in scope, this is an imaginative look at the rise of medicine for the mind." Kirkus Reviews
"[An] enjoyable and edifying literary achievement." Library Journal
"One of the most impressive novelists of his generation." Sunday Telegraph
What is it to be human? The story begins in Brittany where a young, poor boy passes his medical exams and goes to Paris, where he attends the lectures of Charcot, the Parisian neurologist who set the world on its head in the 1870s. With a friend, he sets up a clinic in the mysterious mountain district of Carinthia in southeast Austria.
What is it to be human? This question, as in Birdsong
, is at the heart of Human Traces
The story begins in Brittany where a young, poor boy somehow passes his medical exams and goes to Paris, where he attends the lectures of Charcot, the Parisian neurologist who set the world on its head in the 1870s. With a friend, he sets up a clinic in the mysterious mountain district of Carinthia in south-east Austria.
If The Girl at the Lion d'Or was a simple three-movement symphony, Birdsong an opera, Charlotte Gray a complex four-movement symphony, and On Green Dolphin Street a concerto, then Human Traces is a Wagnerian grand opera.
Chronicles the lives of Jacques Rebire and Thomas Midwinter, two men from different countries and backgrounds but united by a quest to understand the workings of the human mind and to investigate the treatment of insanity, from 1876 when they are both sixteen through turn-of-the-century Europe and America, in a novel that looks at the origins of early psychiatry. 40,000 first printing.
About the Author
Sebastian Faulks is the author of seven previous novels, including The Girl at the Lion d'Or (1989), Birdsong (1993), Charlotte Gray (1998), and On Green Dolphin Street (2001). He is also the author of a biographical study, The Fatal Englishman (1996).