Review: Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

My rating: 5 out of 5

Jon McGregor’s Reservoir 13 made the Man Booker 2017 long list, his second novel to be long listed (his If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things made the 2002 list) and it’s good candidate to take the prize. The story revolves around the disappearance of Rebecca Shaw, a teenager holidaying in the timeless unnamed village at the centre of this novel. Unlike every other novel with this plot-line, instead of focusing on the mystery of the disappearance, the whodunit/what-happened aspect, McGregor tackles the impact of that disappearance on the village and its residents.

Village life is repetitive: cows are milked, foxes mate, and villagers form committees. Nothing of any importance appears to happen, but people die, people have affairs, bad things come and go. Over the years, with a drum beat of regularity, events repeat; the only constant is the environment, the hills and buildings and the reservoirs, the places that hold the secret to Rebecca’s whereabouts.

This is captured superbly by the style of the book – paragraphs are long, dialogue is minimal, and the repetition shines a light on how little anything in the end really matters.

An excellent book, very worth of the Man Booker nomination.

Book supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.

See Goodreads review.

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