The Fell by Sarah Moss: a ‘close to perfect’ novel
Remarkably, in only 180 pages, Moss has captured ‘all of lockdown life’
Massimiliano Donati/Awakening/Getty Images
Sarah Moss’s 2009 debut novel, Cold Earth, imagined an out-of-control virus, said Hephzibah Anderson in The Observer. She returns to similar terrain with her latest novel – only this time with less need for invention.
Set in November 2020, The Fell centres on Kate, a forty-something single mum, who “finally snaps” during a two-week quarantine period, and goes for a solitary walk in the Peak District. It’s “destined to be an ill-fated expedition”: the night draws in, Kate doesn’t return – and her absence is noticed by her teenage son Matt. With its vivid sense of “accumulating dread”, this is an “intense time capsule of a tale”.
Moss moves “gracefully” between various perspectives, said Sarah Ditum in The Times: that of Alice, an elderly neighbour; and Rob, a member of the mountain rescue team. Elegantly written and concise, The Fell is a “close-to-perfect” novel.
Even though Moss has said it was written fast, the prose here feels “precision-tooled”, said Roger Cox in The Scotsman. Remarkably, in only 180 pages, she has captured “all of lockdown life”.
Picador 180pp £14.99; The Week Bookshop £11.99
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