‘The Fell’ – Sarah Moss

Living in the environment in which this is set, The Fell seemed as if it would encapsulate so much of my own feelings/experiences that I hoped this would be a book I found myself falling in love with. I wasn’t disappointed.

The story is deceptively simple. A mother, Kate, finding the restrictions of lockdown mentally challenging is struggling with the demands of a period of enforced self-isolation. Though it’s illegal, one afternoon she takes her backpack and walks out onto the hills of the Peak District. She doesn’t tell her teenage son she is going, a neighbour sees her leave and says nothing, but when she doesn’t return and night is drawing in the choice is made to call out Mountain Rescue.

Fragments of thoughts and we get a range of perspectives as the hunt for Kate goes through the night. We read the thoughts of Kate, her son, the neighbour – Alice, and mountain rescue volunteer Rob. It was surprisingly easy to read about the thoughts and feelings of each towards the lockdown of November 2020. The nuances of each characters’ reactions to events was well-captured, and though much of the focus tended to the mundane I felt it was an approach that allowed us to reflect on the ideas explored. Where this book won me over was with the descriptions of an environment which I deeply love, but also respect…knowing just how easily it can go wrong.

Thank you to Picador and NetGalley for granting me the opportunity to read this in advance of publication. I’ve already reserved a physical copy and can see myself re-reading this.