Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 12 Dec 2007
This review is from: Human Traces (Paperback)
I found this book very interesting and compelling, though I agree with previous reviewers that the discussion of the history of psychiatry does take over and becomes rather heavy going in places. However, the development of the central characters more than compensates - and by the time the 22 page transcription of a speech on evolutionary psychology came round I found myself really rooting for the speaker!

The themes interweave very subtly with the imagery throughout the book - as physical landscapes and buildings become symbols and mirrors of the internal landscape of the brain. Some of this is a tad self-conscious - but given the over-arching theme of human awareness, this in itself becomes part of the literary device of the novel.

There were a couple of places where the story feels a bit patchy - as if Faulks lost his train of thought in the writing - though again, maybe that's the point.

I felt a bit frustrated that certain characters were mentioned by name, but were then completely excluded from the plot, even though their introduction in the book seemed pivotal.

Faulks' portrayal of the inner workings of a psychotic mind comes late in the book, and left me wishing that he'd included this earlier as a way of informing the theorising and lending intrigue.

All in all I loved this book and really couldn't put it down, and I can forgive any clumsiness on the part of the author in the light of the book's enormous humanity and particular subject matter.
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