Book - 2016
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Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It's not the kind of place you'd want to end up. But it's where Jess Moulson could be spending the rest of her life. It's a place where even the walls whisper. And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess.
Publisher: New York, NY :, Orbit,, 2016.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9780316300285
Characteristics: 486 pages ; 25 cm


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Jul 14, 2019

I very much enjoyed Carey's The Girl With All the Gifts, so I was looking forward to this newest one from him. I wasn't disappointed! A genre-bending novel that kept me engrossed throughout its hefty just under 500 pages. Jess Moulson is a heroin addict who is accused of murdering a little neighbor boy Alex when she set fire to her apartment while she was high. This sprawling book has a large cast and is told from multiple POV's which serve to keep the pace brisk. Well-written and with fleshed out characters, this novel is part crime drama/mystery, horror story, and ghost tale with large dollops of magic realism and jailhouse pathos. And somehow that all works. The ending was superb - just like the ending of The Girl With... So often I find endings of novels a let-down in some way; I think a fulfilling conclusion is one of the most difficult things to write. Carey has that skill down, and I closed this book with a very satisfied snap.

Cynthia_N Feb 01, 2017

Like HBO's Oz for women with a touch of paranormal. Dark and violent. The ending had twist that I wasn't quite expecting!

Oct 31, 2016

Prison story with a supernatural twist. Well developed characters and fast-paced plot.

May 11, 2016

I like the review here that described Fellside as "Orange is the New Black with ghosts." I've never seen OITNB, but I've assumed there are comedic elements. There is no comedy in the Fellside prison, but there is a ghost. Instead, life in Fellside is dark, dark, dark, as are the female inmates themselves. There are murders, beatings, corruption, and a dangerous drug smuggling ring. In other words - probably an accurate depiction of life in just about every prison.

Into this world comes Jess Moulson, a heroin addict and a convicted murderer of a young boy. She was high the night of the murder and has no memory of the crime, but her feelings of guilt and helplessness and hopelessness lead her to accept responsibility, and she is thrown to the wolves at Fellside.

M.R. Carey's previous novel, The Girl With All the Gifts, remains one of my favorite books of the last few years. There are quite a few shades of TGWATG in Fellside, most significantly the relationship between the female adult MC and a young child. In both stories, the two protagonists support, learn from, and occasionally rescue each other. The relationship in TGWATG was so much more moving, however, because it is the focal point of the story, and because we get to know so much more about that child. In Fellside, the child is a mystery to be unraveled, and while that is crucial to the plot, it makes it more difficult to feel the same attachment to these two characters. That relationship also often hovers on the periphery of the awful setting of the prison, where not a day goes by without something awful happening.

I think fans of TGWATG will enjoy Fellside. TGWATG certainly had its own darkness, and that ending still wows me, but I felt frustrated by the ending of Fellside. I was thinking, "It didn't have to happen that way!" While the ending of TGWATG felt RIGHT, this one felt...avoidable. I wonder if Carey was looking for the same powerful impact for the ending purely for the sake of avoiding a not-completely-unhappy-ever-after.

Mar 22, 2016

Think Orange is the New Black with a ghost story, but much darker. Jess has made a terrible mistake, but a familiar ghost is there to help get her conscience straight. Throw in a dirty cop, some plot twists, and you have a fast-paced and engaging read.


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Apr 13, 2017

“Rough edges were what you needed because they were what you sharpened yourself against. Nobody ever got sharp from lying in a feather bed.”

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