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The Fell

by Sarah Moss


“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.”

Sarah Moss writes so beautifully and so personally that you feel she may be reading your throughts. As in her previous novel, Summerwater, she examines the themes of isolation and claustrophobia – this time during the Covid pandemic – by unpacking the thoughts of a small community in the Peak District during the course of a single day.

At dusk on a November evening in 2020 a woman slips out of her garden gate and sneaks up the hill. Kate is in the middle of a two-week quarantine period, 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.

But Kate’s neighbour Alice sees her leaving and Matt, Kate’s son, soon realizes she’s missing. And Kate, who planned only a quick solitary walk – a breath of open air – falls and badly injures herself. What began as a furtive walk has turned into a mountain rescue operation . .

Moss writes so compassionately about human frailty while her own work is as close to perfect as a novelist’s can be – The Times

The Fell may only run to 180 pages, but all of lockdown life is here, from everyday negotiations over simple things like offering someone a plate of biscuits, to major philosophical questions around rights and responsibilities. – The Scotsman

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