Bestial Burdens by Neil Randall
Literary Fiction / Psychological thriller
‘There is no such thing as a feeling’
Therapist Shaun Fox runs a successful creative writing programme. A modern, free-thinking man, unfettered by social convention, he has many sexual partners, and avoids long-term commitment at all costs. But his private life is taking a darker turn. Increasingly, he’s drawn to damaged, vulnerable women, women he can manipulate into becoming no more than sexual objects, women he has no genuine feelings for, leaving him cold and empty inside.
When ex-porn star Lucas McGoldrick is referred to him after a botched suicide attempt, Fox begins to see worrying parallels between his own narcissistic lifestyle and the life his new client used to live. Through a series of creative writing assignments and therapy sessions, Fox learns of McGoldrick’s own sexual odyssey, from tender, adolescent innocence to a nightmare of pornography, violence and addiction.
Refusing to acknowledge his own failings, Fox embarks upon another illicit affair, this time with a married woman, and is finally forced to confront the essential truths surrounding himself and all human relationships.