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I normally know how I feel about a novel quite early on and that view seldom changes as I progress through the story – but this one was different. Set in Austria in the first half of the 19th Century, we follow quite a cast of characters as they live through the build-up to The Great War and events thereafter (the war itself getting only a bit part role in this particular tale). The characters we’re introduced to include: In 2001 Charlotte Gray was made into a film starring Cate Blanchett and directed by Gillian Armstrong. In 2010 a stage version of Birdsong, adapted by Rachel Wagstaff (who had previously adapted The Girl at the Lion d'Or for radio) [27] and directed by Trevor Nunn, opened at the Comedy Theatre in London; the production ran for only 4 months. It was subsequently rewritten by Wagstaff and made four successful nationwide tours. In 2012, Birdsong was made into a two-part BBC TV serial, written by Abi Morgan, directed by Philip Martin and starring Eddie Redmayne. [28] [29] This followed several attempts to film the novel. [30] [31] Honours and awards [ edit ] Martha – who runs a sanatorium which was co-founded by her father (this having being detailed in the author’s earlier book Human Traces) Anton may “have a low opinion of the human creature, the male in particular”, but he is capable of deep friendship and his love for Delphine is true. The impulsive Lena has little education and, like her mother, a weakness for alcohol, but she possesses a fierce and loyal heart. Damage cannot be undone but it is possible to reach an approximate understanding of oneself and to find solace, even love, amid the world’s uncertainties. It is a conclusion that should offer reassurance but, after Anton’s anguished existential wrestlings, contrives only to feel rather pat. Freud not mentioned in Human Traces. Too overwhelming a person. He cited a cancer diagnosis as proof of hysteria problems

Austrian Trilogy by Sebastian Faulks - Goodreads Austrian Trilogy by Sebastian Faulks - Goodreads

Snow Country is the second book in a trilogy, but I haven’t read the first book in the series, and it worked really well for me as a stand-alone novel. The research for all this was exhilarating. It took me to the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, to Austria, to California and to remote parts of the Serengeti. In Pasadena, my wife and I climbed Mount Lowe to inspect the ruins of a mountain railway installed as part of a failed tourist attraction in 1893. Mount Lowe, with is comically paradoxical name, was to be a symbol of the doomed aspirations of my protagonists in their attempts to unriddle the mystery of our kind. Snow Country builds on the first book in a planned trilogy, Human Traces (2005); I haven’t read this yet and feel that the story would have been even more meaningful for me had I known more about the characters Thomas, Jacques and Sonia, and the evolution of modern psychiatry as portrayed in Human Traces. Nevertheless, the book stands on its own. I absolutely loved the strong, independent therapist Martha, daughter of Thomas, who gets Anton (and Lena) to open up. Although Snow Country is the second book in a planned trilogy – the first of which was Human Traces published in 2005 – it can be read as a standalone.Sebastian Faulks’s 2005 novel, Human Traces, made explicit his ongoing fascination with the mystery of human consciousness and the forces – historical, political and biological – that converge to shape an individual life. Its two central characters, Thomas Midwinter and Jacques Rebière, are psychiatrists with opposing views on maladies of the mind who pool their expertise to found a state-of-the-art sanatorium in the Austrian mountains at the end of the 19th century. I had read two of Sebastian Faulks’ novels before this, Birdsong and Enderby, one of which I liked and one of which I did not. Snow Country, set mainly in Austria before, (briefly) during and after the First World War, falls into the former category. I liked it.

Snow Country by Sebastian Faulks | Waterstones Snow Country by Sebastian Faulks | Waterstones

Faulks does have some fun with the text. ‘man without qualities’ and storm of steel’ are incorporated into the general text. I wonder how many other contemporary writer novels are integrated into the narrative/


Lena, uneducated, poor, fatherless, her mother an alcoholic who has given away all her other children, starts life with every disadvantage. But she has aspirations, and improves her lot through determination and life experience. At a low point in her life in Vienna, she entertains men, with one of whom in a single encounter she feels an emotional link, immediately lost as this injured soul disappears from her life. I have read Sebastian Faulks’ other books over many years and this book is definitely as powerful as his others. This book follows the story started in Human Traces, published in 2005. I remember reading it on honeymoon in Thailand in 2006 and loving it. I wish the gap between reading these wasn’t as long, I can only remember the actual story vaguely (it was a long time ago!).

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