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Extended Audio Sample Human Traces: A Novel Audiobook, by Sebastian Faulks Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.37 out of 53.37 out of 53.37 out of 53.37 out of 53.37 out of 5 3.37 (27 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sebastian Faulks Narrator: James Adams Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2010 ISBN: 9781455193752
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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 to 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 diagnoses threaten to divide them and to undermine all their professional achievements.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A collage of science, ideas, romance, and adventure…Fascinating.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Epic in scope, yet suffused with intimate emotions, Sebastian Faulks’ seventh novel is one of those rare works of fiction that satisfies on every level.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Passages of gruesome and thrilling anatomical detail and episodes of medical casework [make Human Traces] read like the best detective fiction.”

    USA Today

  • “Complex and engrossing…A leisurely, enjoyable read…always credible and humane.”

    Rocky Mountain News

  • “Sebastian Faulks brings together the lives of two fictional young men, Jacques Rebière and Thomas Midwinter, who meet at university in 1880, during psychiatry’s infancy. The would-be ‘mind doctors’ become fast friends and start a clinic but eventually disagree over the treatment of a patient. Jacques believes the unconscious holds the key to insanity while Thomas believes mental illness is genetic. Narrator James Adams keeps exhaustive sections of exposition, lengthy descriptions, and tedious conversations moving forward while skillfully maintaining the details of the historical period. Adams offers credible period diction, recounting nineteenth-century views on the treatment of dementia, hysteria, and schizophrenia, as well as drawing a horrific picture of the conditions in a “lunatic asylum.” Faulks’ content is ambitious, and Adams’ performance is admirable.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Faith | 2/15/2014

    " Took a long time to finish this one... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 2/9/2014

    " Read it some time ago. An interesting insight to the beginning of modern phycology! Typically a little pretentious from S.F. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natalie Maria | 2/9/2014

    " This was the second book of Faulk's I have read, the first being Engleby which I absolutely enjoyed. I found Human Traces quite laborious to read, not just because it is very large but because it seems, at times, quite obvious and tedious. Perhaps this is partly due to the era in which it is set (late 1800s to early 1900s) and the language this subsequently calls for; and that the fact that the book is very long - but these things shouldn't matter t an engaging story. I couldn't help asking, at the end, what the point was... no real singular substantial statement seems to be made. Faulks does, however, bring up some very interesting historical, philosophical and psychological points, ideas and discussions. I almost had the sense that the fiction which all this was wrapped up in (although it is based somewhat on actual historical events) was a superlative vessel, and that the 'fact' itself was more interesting than the fabricate story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve Pendray | 2/6/2014

    " I normally enjoy Sebastian Faulks and much of this book was up to his usual standard. However, it contains 3 or 4 extrremely long discussions of highly detailed psychological argument. While these were interesting in themselves, they're not what I expect or desire when reading a novel. They hold up the development of the storyline. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 1/24/2014

    " Hard going and much longer than it needed to be. Faulks' knowledge on his subjects is astronomical, but it felt like he created these characters just to show the reader what he knows about the subject, reducing the enjoyment of reading fiction. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonathan Geurts | 1/23/2014

    " It's a long well charactered and well plotted narrative about two struggling mad doctors in Europe. It contains some valuable nuggets of insight phrased most appealingly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 1/15/2014

    " Beautifully characterised with brilliant period detail (particularly detail of early psychiatry!). In many ways, not that much happens in this novel. And everything happens. Loved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annie | 1/5/2014

    " An epic recounting of the history of psychology and sanatoriums. Perhaps a bit dry and rambling at times when he gets into the specifics of psychology, but well worth the effort. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Natalia Rozanska | 12/27/2013

    " Difficult to read at first, but a fascinating insight into the world of early psychology and neuroscience; a unique insight of war from the 'normal populations' point of - in different countries and culture. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alison | 11/19/2013

    " A fantastic book. To me, this is his best - I just want to read more and more "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 James Folan | 5/8/2013

    " Cardboard 19th-century psychiatric folk plod through 600 pages of stodgy research. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angie Rees | 3/28/2013

    " For those who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they like... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mirka | 9/2/2012

    " An interesting book if the reader is into medicine. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 7/1/2012

    " I was drawn first to Faulks's war novels, but this book is by far the best thing of his I have read. It is wonderful "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robbie | 9/1/2011

    " Very good read about human relationships. Two friends who become doctors of the mind -psychiatrists. A story of friendship, discovery, happiness and human tragedy "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robyn Smith | 7/17/2011

    " S Faulks made a very important point in this book about not interpreting everything in Freudian terms. Sometimes I wish I'd never read/heard about Freud/ his influence is very seductive, especially whne you're a teenager (if I remember correctly that long ago!) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 5/10/2011

    " Lots of stuff about the early years of psychiatry. Interesting story and at times a little too much information!
    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 5/10/2011

    " Hard going and much longer than it needed to be. Faulks' knowledge on his subjects is astronomical, but it felt like he created these characters just to show the reader what he knows about the subject, reducing the enjoyment of reading fiction. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Susan | 4/11/2011

    " Tried very hard to stick with this one, but I gave up. Sorry, it was tedious and hard going. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heather | 1/25/2011

    " The book started out very interesting. When the author decided to include entire speeches about psychological theory, part were interesting, but it did get very drawn out and monotonous. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elaina | 1/1/2011

    " The understanding of what makes us human...a thought-provoking read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 11/7/2010

    " Good writing. A challenging number if pages but worth the effort. His intimate scenes are a bit jarring in the text. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pupsi | 10/15/2010

    " a very interesting subject, but for some reason tough going. even though i was really interested in it, i heaved a sigh every-time i went back. mixed feelings... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mew | 9/1/2010

    " This book felt long and at times too long. Yet it somehow needed to be as in depth and drawn out a it was. i didn't think 19th Century psychiatry could be this fascinating. Faulks is one of those authors I have avoided for years for all the wrong reasons only to find I rather like him. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonathan | 7/22/2010

    " It's a long well charactered and well plotted narrative about two struggling mad doctors in Europe. It contains some valuable nuggets of insight phrased most appealingly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mirka | 7/15/2010

    " An interesting book if the reader is into medicine. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jess | 5/10/2010

    " This book was very well researched... "

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About the Author
Author Sebastian FaulksSebastian Faulks is the internationally bestselling author of 11 novels, including Charlotte Gray, which was made into a film starring Cate Blanchett, and the #1 international bestseller and classic Birdsong, which has sold more than 3 million copies and has been adapted for the stage, for television (starring Eddie Redmayne) and is now in development as a feature film. In 2008, Faulks was invited to write a James Bond novel, Devil May Care, to mark the centenary of Ian Fleming. In 2011, he presented the 4-part television series Faulks on Fiction for the BBC. He lives in London.
About the Narrator

James Adams is one of the world’s leading authorities on terrorism and intelligence, and for more than twenty-five years he has specialized in national security. He is also the author of fourteen bestselling books on warfare, with a particular emphasis on covert warfare. A former managing editor of the London Sunday Times and CEO of United Press International, he trained as a journalist in England, where he graduated first in the country. Now living in Southern Oregon, he has narrated numerous audiobooks and earned an AudioFile Earphones Award and two coveted Audie Award for best narration.