Friday, 10 August 2012
The Welkinn Complex by Keving Kiely (interview)
He travels from the States to take up a position on the island of Guernesy in an exclusive clinic, the owner of which is testing XcellN - a new drug with psychedelic properties that brings to the fore suppressed memories and unleashes other psychological material.
The Welkinn Complex has big themes and insights into the world of psychology but these are a mere vehicle for a dissection of the twisted psyche of Dr Welkinn.
Author Kevin Kiely, who was born in Co Down and now lives in Derry, says he wrote his new novel while lecturing in the US.
"The idea for it came to me after talking to people in the US who had gone to clinics and told me about this practice," he said.
"People are being used to test drugs at clinics and the doctors who are administering them see this simply as part of their job and are ignoring the ethics.
"And clearly the pharmaceutical industry has a vested interest in making sure that their products continue to be used - there could be as many as 2.5 million people addicted to prescription tranquilisers in the UK alone."
Written in jerky, almost note-like form, The Welkinn Complex reflects the style in which Dr Welkinn might write up the case notes on one of his patients.
However, the real subject being analysed is Welkinn himself - his unethical medical behaviour, his self-obsession and his philandering.
He desperately scrambles for self-preservation after the police launch an investigation into the death by suicide of his lover, who Welkinn knew was psychologically unbalanced and vulnerable.
"Welkin is an icy person inside and was drawn from my experience of some types of Americans that I met," says Kiely.
"There are many Americans who have never gone to Europe, Republican Americans - Wasps - who see us as a museum, going back in time, and Welkinn is one of those.
"I'm not anti-American but they do tend to live much more in the present than we do here in Europe.
"Welkinn is surrounded by people who are cracking up and yet he functions with a cold detachment." This interview was first published in The Irish News.