Set on Morecambe Bay, this novel evokes brilliantly the sense of mystery and compulsion that encapsulates the sands which stretch out across the vastness of the bay; you can gaze out across the bay, knowing that countless lives have been lost – in many cases those of local people caught out despite their knowledge of the tides and quicksand – and still feel an unexplained desire to stride out on to the sands where the light dazzles and disorientates. ‘Unmappable and treacherous’ writes Ashworth of the bay – or is it of the volatile stranger who appears in the lives of the Clifford family at their most desperate hour, to whom they are drawn despite the increasingly obvious dangers? Raising so many more questions than it answers, as a truly great novel should, Fell is thought-provoking, unsettling, haunting – but ultimately hopeful. A stunning novel.
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