Walking to Stay Alive: Sarah Moss’s Lockdown Novel The Fell


  • Bożena Kucała Jagiellonian University in Kraków




Sarah Moss, The Fell, nature in literature, walking, pandemic literature, lockdown


Sarah Moss’s novel The Fell (2021), set during the second lockdown in Britain, is an instance of fiction’s engagement with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Written in the midst of the calamity, the novel presents events from the limited perspective of an individual whose personal crisis is intensified by her enforced isolation and confinement. Spanning only one night, the story recounts the protagonist’s quarantine-breaking walk on the hills of the nearby Peak District as her way of coping with the overwhelming situation. This article analyses the character’s retreat into nature as her instinctive reaction to societal pressures. Drawing on Frédéric Gros’s A Philosophy of Walking and Henry David Thoreau’s essay Walking, this article centres on the trope of walking in Moss’s novel, positing that the heroine is an incarnation of Thoreau’s “walker errant.” It is argued that for Kate communing with nature, perceived as a site of otherness and an ever-renewing cycle of life and death, is vital for her spiritual balance, but it has also become a survival strategy during the current crisis.


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How to Cite

Kucała, B. (2022). Walking to Stay Alive: Sarah Moss’s Lockdown Novel The Fell. American & British Studies Annual, 15, 37–48. https://doi.org/10.46585/absa.2022.15.2428