The Fell

Farrar. Mar. 2022. 192p. ISBN 9780374606046. $25. F
This latest from Moss (Summerwater) is a COVID story. Single mother Kate and her teenage son Matt are midway through their enforced two-week quarantine after an exposure to the coronavirus. Already, Matt has become bored with his video games and has turned to homework. Kate, stir crazy after decluttering her home and doing a little late fall gardening, rashly decides to take a short hike up the fell beyond their garden, reasoning that she is unlikely to meet up with anyone out there. Although she neglects to take her phone or leave a note for Matt, her neighbor Alice sees her leave. So Matt and Alice are equally worried when Kate doesn’t return by nightfall. The quandary: do they wait it out and hope she’ll make it back home, or do they report her missing and risk her receiving a heavy fine for breaking quarantine?
VERDICT Is it too soon for pandemic-era novels? For anyone who can bear a reminder of lockdowns, masking, isolation, and social distancing while still living through them, this fast-paced gem is worth the novel exposure.
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