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Fell, Alison

novel feminist written

(British, 1944– )

Born in Dumfries, Fell moved to London in 1970 and became active in feminist publishing, particularly with Spare Rib. Her fiction has evolved away from realism towards a style that incorporates theory, politics, desire, and dreams, within a poetic, sometimes fragmentary prose. The Bad Box (1987) signalled this change, with its use of myth and fantasy in its account of a young Scottish girl's maturing. Fell's most admired novel so far has been Mer de Glace (1991), a feminist romance, the story of an adulterous affair between a young American climber and an older woman, his college tutor. Much of the action takes place during a climbing holiday in the Alps, climaxing in a dangerous ascent in which passion and endurance mix. Fell is also a skilled pasticheur. The Pillow Book of the Lady Onogoro (1994) is written in the form of a Japanese medieval chronicle, and The Mistress of Lilliput (1999) is a mock-eighteenth-century novel written from the viewpoint of Mrs Gulliver.

Michèle Roberts, Marina Warner  JS

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