Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor: Review

I read McGregor’s earlier novel, Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, about 10 years ago and I loved it, despite this I’ve had one of his books sat on my shelf many years and I still haven’t got around to it. Reservoir 13 was nominated for the Booker Prize which bought this author back on my radar.

This novel is sold as: A young girl goes missing and this is the story of the people in the village who were effected by this disappearance. And yes this premise is true,but I think it will make a lot of people go into this expecting drama, heartbreak, revelations and a plot line. Really this novel is a series of vignettes centered on the village, its occupants and the wildlife surrounding the area. The missing girl, Rebecca, is present throughout but as a ghostly figure no one can quite forget.

Each of the 13 chapters are one year in the life of the village, within each chapter numerous characters are mentioned (30+), some for only a sentence or two. In one paragraph he may discuss Su and her new born twins, the Jackson boys (sheep farmers), the four teenagers on their way to school and the mating call of the foxes. This isn’t a book for everyone, its a novel to be savoured by those who love language and can read a book for the language rather than the plot.

Having read one of his earlier novels and seen plenty of reviews I was ready for this novel, although a little shocked at its bulk, but it’s certainly a case of being in the correct mood to read it, I found evenings when I was tired after work were no good but I had a lazy, rainy Saturday and that worked a treat.


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