Human TracesBMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7523.1029 (Published 27 October 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1029
- Iain McClure (email@example.com), consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist
- Vale of Leven Hospital, Alexandria
One of the pleasures of reading Sebastian Faulks' new novel is that he has convincingly imagined the reality of madness and, in doing so, has done justice to the subjective experience of many patients. Faulks has admirably attempted a huge range of themes: the evolution of Western psychiatry from the middle of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century, the evolutionary origins of psychosis, the nature of subjective experience, to name but a few. However, Human Traces, like madness itself, also runs into internal inconsistencies, some of which are left unresolved.
The novel begins by introducing one of its two main characters, Jacques …