REVIEW: “Home Bound” by Melanie Bell

Review of Melanie Bell, “Home Bound” Cossmass Infinities 9 (2022): 54-61 — Read or purchase online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content note: Death.

As someone who gave up a life in the US for a life in Europe — and, ultimately, England — I found a lot to sympathise with Beth, the heroine, in this story, who inherits her great-grandmother’s house and makes the leap across the ocean. I additionally sympathised with the basic premise of the story, that one’s soul can and up becoming bound up with the house that they live in, although in Beth’s case, this is literal: Her great-grandmother cannot die until she passes the house on to someone who shares her blood.

It did feel, a bit, though, like it was a story written by someone who has read about England, but hasn’t lived here. The NHS is slowly being dismantled and destroyed (although: <sarcams>Maybe a thriving NHS is the fantasy element of the story</sarcasm>), she’s more likely to be drinking squash than juice, McDonald’s is unlikely to be the main source of cheap coffees…) On the flip side, it’s been long enough since the start of Covid-19 that it feels wrong when stories don’t acknowledge it, and right when they do, as this one does.