by Stephen Gilbert
Preface by Patricia Craig
writer of distinction." - E. M. Forster
"[A]n unusual, talented book with many good things in it. [...] Stephen Gilbert is an interesting writer, whose material is out of the ordinary run of things." - Anthony Powell
Marcus Brownlow was a strange and imaginative young schoolboy whose dreams sometimes foretold the future. Now he's nineteen, unemployed, directionless, and not ready to grow up. An unexpected invitation from a school friend to visit him at the house of his eccentric millionaire uncle Mr. Burnaby seems to hint at adventure and a change of fortune. But what Marcus doesn't know is that Mr. Burnaby wants his help in a series of strange experiments whose ultimate goal is to discover what happens to the soul after death. What begins as harmless fun as Mr. Burnaby teaches Marcus how to project his spirit out from his body quickly becomes more sinister, and may lead to a horrible fate even more terrifying than death. . . .
Stephen Gilbert (1912-2010) is best remembered for his novel Ratman's Notebooks (1968), twice filmed as Willard, and for his friendship as a young man with the much older novelist Forrest Reid. The Burnaby Experiments (1952) is a brilliant and unclassifiable novel, part fantasy, part science fiction, part horror, and partly a thinly veiled and blackly humorous fictionalization of Gilbert's difficult relationship with Reid. This first-ever reprinting of Gilbert's scarce novel coincides with its 60th anniversary and features the original jacket art by legendary book designer Berthold Wolpe.