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Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks
Two characters form the heart of Human Traces, Jacques Rebiere and Thomas Midwinter, who meet as young men in 1880 and become partners as "mind doctors." Rebiere has a mentally disturbed brother, which spurred him into the pioneering field of mind medicine, and he becomes convinced that mental problems are caused by childhood trauma. Midwinter, whose sister marries Rebiere, believes there's a genetic component to mental illnesses. The two have a falling out over a patient, whom Rebiere believes in mentally ill and Midwinter believes is physically ill. Midwinter not only cures her, she eventually becomes his wife. Their two lives continue to intersect and their stories span decades and continents. Sebastian Faulks traces the theories and early treatment of mental disorders through his characters and Human Traces has received mixed reviews. The Telegraph says, "This is a bold and remarkable work of imagination, particularly in its daring remastery of the 19th-century novel form and the sustained grace of its prose."