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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SEBASTIAN FAULKS's six previous novels include Birdsong (1993), Charlotte Gray (2000), The Girl at the Lion d'Or (1989), and On Green Dolphin Street (2001). He is also the author of a biographical study, The Fatal Englishman (1996). He lives in London, is married, and has two sons and a daughter.From AudioFile:
Sebastian Faulks (CHARLOTTE GRAY) 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's content is ambitious, and Adams's performance is admirable. S.J.H. © AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
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