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The book club discussion started with a précis of Sebastian Faulks' background; he read English at Cambridge and has a varied palette, writing new instalments of James Bond, as well as Tolstoy-esque works such as ‘Birdsong’. The research for Human Traces took 5 years, leading to the award of an honorary doctorate. The diligence shows in the book; many of our group were surprised that he had no background in science at all.
The book entwines the story of two neurologists starting from their childhood: Thomas Midwinter, who has an interest in literature, and comes to medicine and neurology seeking an understanding of the human condition; and Jacques Rebière, a Frenchman from a poor background, who is drawn to neuroscience in order to discover why his brother Olivier has developed schizophrenia. They meet by chance, stumble across their common enthusiasm, and vow to work together. The …
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