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The Possessions Of Doctor Forrest
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The Possessions Of Doctor Forrest

2.93 of 5 stars 2.93  ·  rating details  ·  148 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Three respected Scottish doctors - psychiatrist Steve Hartford, paediatric surgeon Grey Lochran and cosmetic surgeon Robert Forrest - have been close friends since their Edinburgh boyhoods, and now live handsomely in suburban London. But for each, midlife has brought certain discontents, especially for Forrest, a reformed womaniser who broods over his fading looks and the ...more
Paperback, 442 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Faber & Faber (first published January 1st 2011)
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Will Byrnes
Richard Kelly, in The Possessions of Doctor Forrest, applies a gothic look and feel to a contemporary setting, in presenting and then unraveling for us a strange disappearance.

Doctor Robert Forrest clearly has a dark side. We learn of this by reference, as several other doctors, who make up the alternating narrators here, recall events in their journals. Clearly a hedonist, Forrest seems to have left a trail of destruction in his wanton path. He has a somewhat creepy girlfriend and has captured
Grey Lochran, Steve Hartford and Robert Forrest are a trio of successful doctors who have been friends (and rivals) since their schooldays, although in recent years Robert - a plastic surgeon - has developed a dangerous obsession with youth and vanity which has led to him becoming somewhat alienated from his old friends. When Robert goes missing, the others are perplexed by his sudden disappearance, and Grey in particular is determined to uncover the truth about what has happened to him. The sto ...more
This review and others like it available on my blog

I'm not entirely sure it works. Oh, plenty of ideas are presented and discussed within the text, but you are frequently hammered with them. And the dread, the melodrama, the creeping horror that should be present in a Gothic Novel simply, well, isn't.

The writing isn't all that great either - often ham-handed, confusing. The characters all sound the same. If you're going to write a novel where you have everal points of view, you should try to ma
Three Scottish doctors - Grey Lochran, Robert Forrest and Steven Hartford - have been friends since their medical school days. As they have grown into middle-age they have grown somewhat apart and practice in very varied fields, but still keep in regular contact. When Dr Forrest suddenly disappears without a trace, his old colleagues are baffled and the police are unable to turn up a single lead. And although Robert is no longer around, his friends continue to feel echoes of his presence in ever ...more
Bilbo Baggins
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...' are quite a turn off because of this and it's a jolt to discover that one isn't stuck in the pre 19th century after all. Thusly thereafter - note the words - there's a lot of rather archaic language that one occasionally needs to check in the dictionary to understand (not a bad thing) and some terribly convoluted sentence construction - viz. this - that irks rather ...more
I was at times very fascinated by the book, but still I could not motivate myself to really continue reading it somehow.
Now I definetely want to read it again. There were a lot of interesting philosophical parts in it I don't think I have fully understood yet.

The languege was very difficult but good. It is written in a very educated way. With a fancy sentence structure and difficult words. That also makes it difficult to read the book in one go. But it was not a made language. It really fits th
This book was awesome. The main issue other people seemed to have had with it was the language, which they viewed as too "gothic" for the contemporary setting. I disagree - the language works perfectly for a bunch of very-educated, pompous Brit/Scottish doctors in a modern gothic novel. This is how I would expect intelligent people to speak, with a little gothic flair added (More noticeably on Robert than the others, but then Robert is crazy.)

Another issue seemed to be the inability to tell char
Jayne Lamb
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book is quite rich with character development, but even I - being a mature 16-year-old - couldn't really get into it, probably because I'm not an adult and can't relate to it. I think it's appropriate for a certain age. I rated it this high because I want to read it a few years later, just to see if it can get to me at the age of 25 or so, and it really has a potential.
Lára  Arnarsdóttir
Jan 30, 2013 Lára Arnarsdóttir rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Individuals who appreciate a good book
4 stars because I had a feeling I was reading Dracula, Frankenstein, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Devil's Elixirs - all at the same time.
I´m really sensitive when it comes to retellings and using/stealing characters previously created. This wasn´t the case in this book but most of the characters have some similarities with characters from the mentioned books above.
However, characters in this book are more complex and haunting.

Story is interesting, at some times creepy, even funny
This is my reading group's choice for October - aaaaaah!

Weirdly interesting or interestingly weird...

This book is about the disappearance of a doctor and his friends' quest to find him.

At the beginning I was surprised to find this was a contemporary novel. Indeed, the tome of it suggests it could be similar in era and tone to a Sherlock Holmes. It was only when one of the characters took out a mobile phone that I realised this was supposed to be set in the present-day.

The novel is very atmosphe
Not quite as clever as it aspires to be. This does wear it's gothic sensibilities quite heavily and the influences of Dracula, Frankenstein and Jekyll and Hyde are splattered all over it. Literally. Some nice touches and a dark storyline, but no one to actually care about within the dreary list of characters. I won't post spoilers, but the end section really dragged on and took the story backwards in some respects - by which point I didn't actually care (much like I felt about Frankenstein himse ...more
After his disappearance, Dr Forrest’s friends watch as the abyss that lies in his wake inexplicably consumes their every lead and the Grim Reaper’s touch edges closer to those they hold dear. A foreseeable plot that is typical of gothic literature does not detract from the gripping mystery laid down in this book. A subtly sinister tale of partnership between Hubris and the femme fatale pays homage to the masters of the field (Dante in particular) without being weighed down by them. Kelly’s skilf ...more
Kally Sheng
Our life's great friendships are dropped on us in strange little ways but for providential reasons. We are meant to encounter our opposites in life and be changed by them – transformed, in some manner.

La vie humaine est limitée, mais je voudrais vivre éternellement – Human life is limited but I would like to live forever. - Yukio Mishima

In driving, one assumes the danger of destroying life, beginning with one’s own.
Peter Johnson
I finished this about a year ago. I think the author has the potential to become a very talented writer indeed but perhaps needs to find his feet a little as well as, dare I say, his most suitable genre.

All the same I found it to be a most enjoyable read apart from the fact that I found myself being able to second guess what was going to happen next throughout. That would be my only criticism of the book.
Ali Jarman
Hmmm. I found this disjointed and a little predictable. The hyperbole written about it just didn't come through for me and I was left rather disappointed. I would say that I like my literature a bit more straightforward, but I'm not sure that's true. I guess the truth is that only the very best gothic horror works for me, and this just wasn't it. But an OK read and well written.
Andy Weston
I am unsure about "gothic" books written in the present day. Throughout Kelly conjures the gothic scene well, and I kept believing I was in the 1880's.

But the novel never gets going for me. Certainly there are deaths, and what can be called twists, but low on suspense - little build up of atmosphere, and overall, disappointing.
D.E. Meredith
Loved it. Very interesting way of writing with a curt nod to C19th but steeped in contemporary obsessions. Very original despite being (at the same time, clever that) a homage. If you like books that make you think and classy writing, you won't be disappointed. Howling at the moon gothic. A proper London novel.
Gave up on this one as it was quite dreary. I have enough books to read without ploughing through one to find if there are any good bits. I used to make a point in finishing every book... I may get back to this one but no now. It might have got better but I was 1/5th way through it and nothing much was happening.
Very dull and dreary until the last 20%! The last part of the book was gripping and exciting, and I couldn't put it down. The build up to that part though was a painful plod, and in places had to force myself to continue reading. It is a shame really as it could have been a very good book.
It had been a while since I had read a gothic novel, and this one I found a suitably chilling re-entry into the genre. It's a morality tale in many ways, and the ending, perhaps a slightly predictable, makes sure no one is left untouched.
A Victorian gothic horror set in modern London - this is the sort of thing I'd imagine Robert Lois Stevenson or Wilkie Collins would produce if they were writing today. A wonderfully creepy book for cold, dark evenings.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
One of the books that tempt me in the airport without having had any prior exposure to it. Wonder what I'll think about it after I've gotten around to read it.
An enjoyable dark tale, although it was more than a little obvious where it was going. Well written, though.
Gary Chisholm
Excitingly descriptive and an interesting idea, but is very slow and uninspiring until the last fraction.
first book ive stopped reading in over two years. didnt like it at all.
Ian Robinson
An ecellant read, very creepy and menacing
Life's too short - I'm bored and giving up
Mar 31, 2012 Sarah added it
I couldn't get into this book at all.
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“Our life's great friendships are dropped on us in strange little ways but for providential reasons. We are meant to encounter our opposites in life and be changed by them – transformed, in some manner.” 0 likes
“La vie humaine est limitée, mais je voudrais vivre éternellement – Human life is limited but I would like to live forever. - Yukio Mishima” 0 likes
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