Tag Archives: independent

51. Kevin Jackson in The Independent on Doctor Forrest: “A glimpse into Hell”

I’m really thrilled to report this review of Doctor Forrest from Friday’s Independent, written by Kevin Jackson, who has a great deal of first-rate form in this general subject area. For that reason it’s especially meaningful and gratifying to me that Jackson writes:

‘Kelly has managed to produce one of those rare hybrids: a book which has the robust narrative drive of genre fiction but also the thoughtfulness and stylistic flair of good literary fiction.’

As a thematic side-note I’m also really pleased that Jackson saw fit to draw attention to the ‘mid-life’ element of the novel’s plotting and its characters – as he thumbnails them, ‘men in their fifties who are comfortable and competent in their own fields but uneasy and at times powerless in their family lives.’ He highlights the reference to Dante’s famous selva oscura, and nicely proposes that ‘intrigues, brutal murders and the supernatural’ are the book’s ‘way of sounding the panic terror that underlies any mid-life crisis.’
I can happily return the compliment to Kevin Jackson as he is the author of a quite phenomenal range of books, including one that is a long-time favourite of mine in the field of cinema studies, Schrader on Schrader and Other Writings. He’s a filmmaker too, originally a documentarian in the arts field but I note that lately he’s turned his hand to the gothic high style with a number of short fiction films, perhaps inspired by his 2009 publication Bite: A Vampire Handbook. At any rate, a quick scour of YouTube has yielded the following delights:


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31. Richard T Kelly in The Independent: Doctor Forrest’s debt to Dostoyevsky

In today’s Independent I write on The Brothers Karamazov for the paper’s Book of a Lifetime slot – an opportunity I’m hugely grateful to have been afforded – and therein I wind my way round to the following remarks:

“The scene I love best… is Ivan’s hallucinated encounter with a shabby aristocratic devil who affably refutes his complex atheism. This might indeed be my favourite passage in literature, one that I stole and re-worked in my novels Crusaders and The Possessions of Doctor Forrest. I confess this freely (I want to be found out), and well-read readers might think it an annoying pseudery. But in my teens I first heard of Dostoyevsky through a minor American novelist whose own name I’ve long forgotten – still, I owe that guy, and I believe in passing on the good word. To me this is what Christians mean by “stewardship”, and as such I pray The Master (by which I mean Dostoyevsky) might approve.”

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