WellRead December Selection: The Fell by Sarah Moss

When we were deciding which book to select for December, we stumbled upon this Ursula K. Le Guin quote: "One of the functions of art is to give people the words to know their own experience....Storytelling is a tool for knowing who we are and what we want." With this sentiment in mind, may we introduce this month's selection - a pandemic novel by Sarah Moss that is equal parts suspenseful, witty and wise.

We didn't anticipate sending out pandemic fiction and we know some of you will be rolling your eyes right about now, but give us a minute! Perhaps, like us, you may have pigeonholed the genre into the 'too-tedious/too-triggering' category. But perhaps, like us, you might find yourself surprised and moved by the insight contained within these pages. Perhaps, like us, you may experience relief or catharsis in reading these words and having your own experience reflected back at you.

The Fell is Moss's eighth book. If you are part of her fan club, you will know you are in very good hands (and if you're not, you should be - Summerwater and Ghost Wall in particular are exceptional reads). The novel begins at dusk on a November evening in 2020 when a woman slips out of her garden gate and turns up a hill. Kate is in the middle of a two week quarantine period, but she just can't take it anymore - 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. Did we mention it was suspenseful?

The Fell asks probing questions about the place the world has become since March 2020, and the place it was before. This is a story about compassion and kindness and what we must do to survive by a masterful storyteller who is clear-sighted about what just went down. We found great solace in reading it and hope that you do too!

 

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