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The Fell

The Fell

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The Fell is a timely reflection on the human condition when subjected to unfamiliar stressors. I'd recommend it to any reader who enjoys quality literary and/or contemporary fiction, and those with a particular interest in the way individuals have experienced and responded to the worldwide pandemic. The Fell] exhibits truths and contradictions, and it contains a succinct, self-contained story that, simultaneously, encapsulates an author’s whole oeuvre.” Moss steps into other people's shoes with impressive ease. Her prose is clear, low-key and compelling, its power incremental . . . The Fell is about the hazards that lurk at the edges of life. Feelingly, but without sentimentality, Moss explores what happens when you find yourself teetering on the precipice * Herald *

Unbearably suspenseful, witty and wise, The Fell asks probing questions about the place the world has become since March 2020, and the place it was before. This novel is a story about compassion and kindness and what we must do to survive.Matt and Kate are, what do they call it, self-isolating, one of those horrible new nonsensical phrases, social distancing, whoever came up with that, there’s not much that’s less social than acting as if everyone’s unclean and dangerous, though the problem of course is that they are, or at least some of them are and there’s no way of knowing. Medical distance they should call it, or why not just safe distance?” Accumulating dread” is what Moss atomises so brilliantly here but it should be added that this is also a very funny book. All of the characters share a certain doomy drollness, with Alice musing on how there’s nothing quite like cooking to put you off your dinner, for instance, and Kate wondering of a raven that accompanies her on her illegal hike: “Are you a spirit guide or my mother? Oh God, what if it’s both.” One way of coping with this knowledge is to wax apocalyptic. Another is to find fair and just ways to live together – while we’re going through it, and after. Kate removes herself from the daily hum of pandemic life, and can see more clearly. Achieving this kind of perspective is precisely what fiction sets out to do, and what Moss does with great sensitivity. “There will be holes in the children’s education, a generation that’s forgotten or never learnt how to go to a party, people of all ages who won’t forget to be afraid to leave the house, to be afraid of other people, afraid to touch or dance or sing, to travel, to try on clothes – whisht, she thinks again, hush now. Walk.” The Fell is a funny, savage novel about the very recent past, and seems to do the impossible: hold a story that is still unfolding immobile enough to integrate into fiction.” The only parts of her life she enjoys are her job, which provides her with social interaction and some extra food, and the wild beauty of the Peak District, the area where she lives.

It'll be impossible not to relate or understand the characters in this novel - there's the person already struggling with depression, financial insecurities, the morose teenage boy, gaming and just surviving, the lonely, kind, elderly neighbour, a widow and a cancer survivor who knows she's financially privileged, but that doesn't count for much when she's desperately lonely. And in part this may be because the characters in the novel felt like types more than people (and they know it: she’s becoming a grumpy old woman, that’s what, she’s even boring herself, it’s going to be avocados she’s complaining about next). At dusk on a November evening in 2020 a woman slips out of her garden gate and turns up the hill. Kate is in the middle of two weeks of isolation, but she just can’t take it any more – the closeness of the air in her small house, the confinement. And anyway, the moor will be deserted at this time. Nobody need ever know.

Other stories

She conjures the fretful confinement of the pandemic with colossal skill . . . deft and evocative . . . the operation to rescue Kate is nail-biting. There are also scenes of unbearable poignancy . . . shrewd and moving * i *

In real life, I would have immediately leapt to sanctimonious judgment about brazen breakers of the Covid rules who thoughtlessly inflict their virality upon the old, infirm, and immunosuppressed, in radical denial of the common good. But I will admit found some measure of empathy for Kate, a vegetarian hippie who doesn't fit the profile of the right-wing anti-masker next door. That’s how I reacted to The Fell: baking bread and biscuits, a family catch-up on Zoom, repainting and clearouts, even obsessive hand-washing … the references were worn out well before a draft was finished. Ironic though it may seem, I feel like I’ve found more cogent commentary about our present moment from Moss’s historical work. Yet I’ve read all of her fiction and would still list her among my favourite contemporary writers. Aspiring creative writers could approach the Summerwater/ The Fell duology as a masterclass in perspective, voice and concise plotting. But I hope for something new from her next book. The pandemic is spawning some fine writing, and this helter-skelter novel by Moss is one of the best yet. The book captures both the paranoia of the times and the kindness of strangers -- Mail on Sunday Moss is a “compulsive runner”, she says, “and it’s not about fitness or weight or sport or any of that. It’s just about being out in a body, feet on the stones and rain in the hair.” In terms of her fiction, she says, “I think the reason I’m interested in ‘bad’ weather is because that is when you’re most aware of your own embodiment in the world; when your skin is being rained on and your hair is being blown around. You really know you’re alive when you’re most physically present to the world and the elements.” I’m interested in ‘bad’ weather because that is when you’re most aware of your own embodiment in the world The narratives belong to forty-year-old, single mother Kate, her teenage son, Tom, their widowed older neighbour, Alice, and Rob, a divorced volunteer mountain rescuer.The Fell reflects the lives we have been living for the last 18 months in a way no other writer has dared to do. There is wit, there is compassion, there is a tension that builds like a pressure cooker. This slim, intense masterpiece is one of my best books of the year -- Rachel Joyce Where perhaps it loses out to that novel is in the absence of the natural vignettes that distinguished “Summerwater” – although we do hear have a raven whose imagined dialogue with one of the characters makes it effectively the fifth key character of the novel. Where I think it wins out is in avoiding an over-dramatic and rather manufactured climax. Yes, absolutely it does. I don’t consciously think about my books, but I find that the rhythms of walking and running and cycling and knitting, are very calming which helps clear the space for creative work somehow.’ With Moss’s trademark attention to both the beauty and danger of the natural world, the moors come alive as almost another character. But Kate’s delight at having escaped outdoors is short-lived: with night approaching, she falls and breaks her leg.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
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