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Book Review of 'The Fell' by Sarah Moss

I am a homemaker, mother and a wife. I have a passion for books. I always like to know about different books and love to read them.

About the Author and the Book

Sarah Moss is an award-winning English author and an academic. She has written a few novels and a memoir of her year-long stay in Iceland. She has been shortlisted for many literary awards. Her book 'Summerwater’' was the best book of the year in The Guardian and The Times (London).

The Fell is her eighth novel. The whole story is of just one night in the Peak District. It is the reflection of life during lockdown due to the pandemic. As the novel is published during the Covid times, it is seen as closer to reality.

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Storyline

It is the story of a single mother Kate, her teenage son Matt, her neighbour Alice, and Rob, a divorced volunteer mountain rescuer. The month and year in the story are November 2020, the time of the pandemic. Kate, who works in a local café is currently on furlough. She and his son are self-isolating as she came in contact with some infected person. Kate is a very outgoing person. She loves walking and singing. Fourteen days of self-isolation are challenging for her. As they live in Peak District, the temptation of Peak District Fells is constantly making it harder for her to remain inside. She is so used to going to the hills. Finally, one evening she wears her hiking boots, takes her backpack, and goes out. She doesn’t even tell her son. Her neigbour Alice, who is a cancer patient and is currently shielding, sees her but doesn’t stop her out of sympathy. When Kate doesn’t return for a long time, Matt gets worried. He can’t go out as he is also self-isolating. Somehow, he talks to Alice without breaking any rules.

On the other hand, Kate has got injured as she slipped and fell. She doesn’t want any help for the reason she has broken the law. She shouldn’t be out when she is self-isolating. If anybody comes to know, she’ll be in trouble. She’ll have to pay a hefty fine which she can’t afford as she is on furlough. But, when she doesn’t come home for a long time, Alice informs the police and a major mountain rescue operation starts.

Evaluation

The story has shown how different people have experienced the pandemic and how they are impacted by it. It is thought-provoking when the reader explores the mindset of four different personalities in the hard times including their boredom and frustration. It makes you think that how extraordinary times alter our lives. Some readers may relate to the mentality of one or more of the characters of the book as they might have gone through a similar situation. The character of Kate is such that either she can get a lot of sympathy from the readers or can be called selfish and discourteous for the reason she was not able to quarantine for two weeks and broke the law. The random thoughts of teenager Matt are written in a very constructive way. He is wrapped up in his thoughts but has been portrayed as very mature and responsible when his mum doesn’t return. All the time he remains hopeful and keeps himself busy with household chores and also interacts with her neighbour Alice without breaking any regulations. The thoughts of Alice are beautifully written. She is a cancer survivor, vulnerable, who wants to help her neighbour but her hands are tied as she is shielding.

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The whole story is emotional and reflective. There are moments of common concerns and altruism.

For writing her novel, Sarah Moss has used the stream of consciousness style of writing. Hence, I would recommend this book to all adults who like emotional stories, especially to those who are comfortable with such a style of writing and also who want to explore this.

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