Human Traces, by Sebastian Faulks

Author: Sebastian Faulks. Review by Martin Shallcross

'Humans now have words in which they can communicate. They tell stories, describe dreams and hear inner voices.' | Photo: Book cover of Human Traces, by Sebastian Faulks

This book is about two doctors, one French, Jacques, one English, Thomas. They form a close friendship. Jacques marries Thomas’ sister Sonia. The story begins in the 1880s when mentally ill people are locked away, often indefinitely, in lunatic asylums. They are called ‘aliens’. Those caring for them are known as ‘alien doctors’. The doctors know that, for the majority of their patients, there can be no cure. They establish a mental sanatorium in Austria. Both have accepted Darwinism. The traditional God is not a conscious presence in their lives or work.

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