Richard T. Kelly’s The Possessions of Doctor Forrest

Posted by Glennis Byron on March 18, 2011 in News tagged with ,

Forthcoming from Faber and Faber on 2 June 2011, Richard T. Kelly’s The Possessions of Doctor Forrest sounds like a book that readers of this website will particularly welcome:

The tradition of the Gothic novel comes alive once again in this spine-chilling fable – the story of a disappearance, a diabolical bargain, and a terrifying series of physical transformations.

Kelly has set up a blog in advance of publication (www.doctorforrest.co.uk) in which he writes about the books and authors, art and artists, films and filmmakers, music and composers that have influenced or inspired him along the way. It’s a quite fascinating site, and definitely worth a look: posts are included on such diverse things as the cult of Lilith, the strange love of Count Dracula, Baudelaire, the demonology of William Hjortsberg, Herbert Vesely’s 1980 film Egon Schiele: Excess and Punishment and Shelley’s Frankenstein and its adaptations. (Kelly also wrote a very useful essay on Frankenstein and Nick Dear’s adaptation at the National Theatre for the Guardian on 12 February 2011.)

It will be interesting to see how someone like Kelly, with an informed understanding of the Gothic, approaches updating the tradition in The Possessions of Doctor Forrest.

Here is the summary of the narrative:

Three respected Scottish doctors – psychiatrist Steve Hartford, paediatric surgeon Grey Lochran and cosmetic surgeon Robert Forrest – have been friends since their Edinburgh boyhoods, and now live comfortably in suburban London. But for each, midlife has brought certain discontents, especially for Forrest, a reformed hellraiser who broods over his fading looks and the departure of his beautiful younger girlfriend. When Doctor Forrest goes missing one summer evening and fails to resurface, Lochran and Hartford are alarmed by the thought of what might have befallen their friend. The police can find no evidence of foul play, but the two doctors resolve to conduct their own investigation. Soon, however, Lochran and Hartford find themselves bedevilled by bizarre, unnerving events, and the attentions of menacing strangers. Robert Forrest, they come to realise, was not the friend they thought; and, though nowhere to be seen, he has remained closer than they could ever have dared imagine . . .

Check back on this website in late May for an interview with Richard T. Kelly.

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