Latest Issue

The evolution of insanity

Sebastian Faulks should not be judged by his earlier books, but by the quality of ideas in this daring new novel about madness and consciousness

Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks (Hutchinson, £17.99)

When a well-known author brings out a new novel, you expect the critic reviewing it to have read some, or most, or—ideally—all of the author’s previous work. This is a basic courtesy of reviewing culture, and one that it would seem perverse to question. Yet assessing a novel in terms of the reputation and oeuvre of the author is not sufficient. Most reviewers, for example, have been judging Sebastian Faulks’s new novel on the grounds of whether it works as the type of emotionally involving narrative they expect Faulks to be good at,…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect