book review

The Fell by Sarah Moss

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest opinions.

Publication Date: March 1, 2022

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Pages: 184

Genre: Contemporary

Rating: 4.5/5

Content Warnings: Covid, mental health struggles (including allusions to suicide)

The Fell is a beautifully written, atmospheric and character driven novella that cleverly handles the effects the Covid quarantines had. Neither I, nor the book, are saying that the quarantines weren’t necessary, but they did have an effect on some people’s mental health. And Moss layers the story with multiple character pov’s, in a stream of conciseness style, so we can clearly see the impact it has taken on each character.

The Fell is cleverly navigated by one character, Kate’s, choice to leave her house and go for a walk in the secluded woods that sit behind her neighborhood. When Kate doesn’t come back in a timely manner due to her falling and injuring herself, we see the ripple effects this decision has on those around her. Kate has a teenage son, Matt, who isn’t sure who to ask for help in a Covid world and how to cope with the waiting. We also get a peek into the neighbor, Alice’s life, and how she is dealing with Covid and worrying about Kate. As well as a search and rescue worker and how the pandemic has impacted his team and his co parenting agreement with his ex-wife. There was also the wonderful use of a Raven and I appreciated the part he played in Kate’s story.

Moss uses her stunning writing to vividly recreate the part of England this book is set in and creates so much for what is in actuality a pretty bland story. A woman goes for a walk when she shouldn’t and injuries herself and those at home are worried. However, Moss created a richly layered, evocative and somewhat suspenseful tale about the anxiety, loneliness, and despair that were/are the reality for so many globally.

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