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The Seventh Son by Sebastian Faulks


Sebastian Faulks’ latest novel, The Seventh Son, takes us to the near future, 2030, wherein IVF is used to create an experimental form of human life. The experiment, driven by a billionaire entrepreneur, is to be monitored by the Parn Institute which will observe this child’s future development. Neither the surrogate, Talissa Adam, who carries the child nor the adoptive parents are aware of the experiment being undertaken, which is to create a human being with a mind which is very different from others in terms of cognitive abilities and consciousness.

 

While the narrative follows the initial experiment and the growing awareness of the difference of the child, Seth, it also explores the loneliness and confusion of being of an entirely unique cognizance and confronts the contravening of ethical boundaries. Should human rights be sacrificed for additional knowledge of the human composition? A scientific stretch may be possible but should it be achieved?

 

Seth is the welcomed and loved child of his adoptive parents. He is a charming child who has a strong affinity with the natural world and animals. While he doesn’t make friends easily, he is bright and achieving well until, when he is a young adult, the facts about his genetic make-up are disclosed. What follows is devastating; he is forced by media and public harassment to escape and hide.

 

As with all of Sebastian Faulkes’ novels, The Seventh Son, is elegantly and eloquently written. While demonstrating the arrogance, irresponsibility and inhumaneness of experimental interference with human life, it also celebrates the human values of kindness, responsibility and love.


Reviewer: Paddy Richardson

Hutchinson Heinemann

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