08 January, 2007

And here we go again

So, the first book of the new year is Sebastian Faulks's Human traces. Like the other Sebastian Faulk novels I've read, it's essentially bonkbuster for radio 3 listeners. It's a novel based around the period on which Freud was making his discoveries: the two central characters are 'mad-doctors', researching mental illness in a sanatorium in Switzerland. Lots of research which Faulks shows off at every opportunity (no chapter is complete without a conversation in which someone starts 'Let me see if I can explain this more clearly...' followed by three pages of research). Bizarrely, although most of Freud's colleagues are mentioned by name and even appear in the story, he shys away from mentioning Freud by name. It's very odd, and I can't see any reason for it, since he is happy to mention, say, Charcot, and anyone who has read a tiny little bit about Freud will have heard of Charcot. Still, it was absorbing and not too insulting to my intelligence, even if very little happened. A nice distraction from the essays. [1]

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