A different beast than M.R. Carey’s previous novel — the wonderful 2014 zombie-drama, the Girl with All the Gifts — Fellside takes a far more introspective and personal direction. Advertised as a ghost story, the horror of Fellside increasingly bleeds into the background, leaving room for a story of crushing guilt, identity, empathy — and an exposé on privatized prisons.
Jess Moulson’s life climaxes in a loss of control; as heroin addiction and an abusive, enabling partner extend themselves too far, she loses herself in an act of violence while overdosing. She sets fire to all the memories she has of her partner in hopes of removing the negative influences on her life, but the fire immediately spreads to the house as she passes out amidst the flames. Her partner escapes without much harm, but she’s severely disfigured from the accident, and a young boy who lived upstairs is dead of smoke inhalation.