The Possessions of Doctor Forrest Paperback – 2 Jun 2011
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'A thrilling Gothic 2.0... paying homage to a genre that [Kelly] clearly knows intimately and loves dearly.' --Times, May 14 2011
'In The Possessions of Doctor Forrest, Richard T Kelly has put his own original stamp on the [gothic horror] genre.'
--Financial Times, May 21 2011
'Richard T. Kelly's new novel is a rattlingly good yarn that wears a bloody Gothic heart on its sleeve.' --Metro, June 2 2011
'A very satisfying thriller... marshalled with a real feel for pace [and] character.' --The List, May 28 2011
Dr Jekyll meets Dr Faustus in Richard T. Kelly's The Possessions of Doctor Forrest, a spine-chilling modern-day Gothic fable.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The overall opinion of the club was that this book wasn't a good read, and I was the only one to have a different opinion. I did enjoy it.
But, I have to admit that I haven't read any of the other books which this was compared to, such as Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Dorian Grey, Dr Faust. Maybe that is why I enjoyed it, as I couldn't compare it to the other works.
There were two downsides to this book, the first being the reason why I could only score it a 3/5. This was the diary entry style of writing. It didn't work for me. I really couldn't imagine people writing in that style in modern day. I doubt anyone would write multiple pages every day on what had happened to them. Also, as the writing style was exactly the same for each character, it sometimes become confusing which doctor was talking.
The second downside relates to Doctor Forrest and what actually happended to him. The rest of my book club had worked out what the twist was within pages of the book, some even by simply reading the blurb on the back of the book. I avoided reading it in case it spoilt the surprise, and as I was reading I tried not to work things out, and let the book tell me as we went along.
Overall, I don't think I would recommend this book to other people who have read the classics, but it could be good for someone to read that is new to this genre.
It's a homage to, and an update of, the Victorian Gothic novel - and much more. The title suggests "Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde", but it also suggests "Doctor Faustus" and Dostoyevsky's "The Possessed" (or "The Devils", as it's often translated), and the novel is as rich in allusion and reference as the title, taking in Dante, Baudelaire, David Cronenberg and (it sometimes seems) every point in between. But this is no dry, academic pastiche - it is a proper page-turning thriller and horror story about friendship, love and the forces that control and "possess" us.
I can't do justice to Kelly's prose style: it's steeped in muscular, nineteenth century construction, but it's unfussy, clear and direct. His ear for dialogue is bang on and (unusually for this genre) his female characters are every bit as compelling and vivid as the men.
It's a thriller, so I won't go into the plot,other than to say that it twists and turns as satisfyingly and as unpredictably as one could wish. And it is properly frightening: this isn't campy horror cliches - this is Evil with a capital "E" and it's as irresistible, compelling and unforgettable as that sounds.
So: I can only urge you to read it. However the above might read, "The Possessions of Doctor Forrest" wears its learning lightly, and creates something dark, modern and terrifying from it. Brilliant.
The Possessions of Doctor Forrest is a very different piece of fiction, but no less impressive. Where Crusaders painted a broad canvas of modern life in North-East England in all its variety (social, political, religious), Kelly's new work is a much more concentrated piece - a dazzling, dark jewel of a novel.
Though Kelly is a devilishly good plotter, no novel can survive without a strong cast. The genius of The Possessions lies partly in Kelly's capacity to create complex, rounded characters: men and women with whom the reader engages closely, wants to understand, and cares about. These are not cyphers, placed on the page simply to advance the novel's scintillating plot, but living people, with all the anxieties, ambitions, doubts and contradictions that lie at the heart of the human experience. They agonise over their careers, worry about their marriages, fret about their fading youth, wonder where their aspirations have led them, and ponder their legacy in the world. They can be sensitive and heartless, cruel and compassionate, caring and brutal. They feel real.
And into this rich contemporary tapestry are woven older, darker strands - Gothic, certainly, but in many ways timeless. Though other readers have rightly cited the novel's Faustian theme, and its embracing of Gothic figures like Frankenstein, Dracula, and Jekyll and Hyde, the story goes right back to the first, mythic act of sin, when man surrendered to temptation, and lost his innocence forever.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I like 'gothic' a lot but, golly gosh, it does need to be done well to be bearable. The first few pages of the 'The Possessions... Read morePublished on 2 Oct. 2013 by Bilbob
Please do not buy this book!
The storyline is all over the place. Each chapter records the accounts of each character within the book. Read more
It must have been because I found myself on a desert island with no other book in sight. It might be better then watching paint dry but only marginally.Published on 1 Jun. 2013 by echo
Three Scottish doctors - Grey Lochran, Robert Forrest and Steven Hartford - have been friends since their medical school days. Read morePublished on 11 Sept. 2012 by Marie
I had great expectations for this book as the description sounded interesting. Unfortunately, I was left rather disappointed, the characters I found to be rather flat and the... Read morePublished on 16 July 2012 by booboo
I am afraid I did not enjoy this book at all. I did not find it scary or thrilling in the least. I have not read Dracula, Faust etc and still would not recommend it. Read morePublished on 23 May 2012 by Rosie
The Possessions of Doctor Forrest was a good read. It lead you off on lots of twists and turns and only in the later stages did you start to think what was really happening.Published on 15 May 2012 by bookworm
I have kept on trying to get into this book and am coming to the conclusion that it may be one of the very rare novels I don't finish. Read morePublished on 17 April 2012 by Brian Swinton