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Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor. Book Review

March 30, 2017

Reservoir 13

A teenage girl on holiday goes missing in the hills in the middle of winter. Despite a large search party, including the villagers, she cannot be found. Time passes as the seasons come and go. Life in the village goes on.

Reservoir 13 is straight-forward storytelling with uncluttered prose, but don’t let the simplicity of the words fool you, because they’ve been very cleverly chosen. This no-frills type of language is the beauty of the way this novel has been written. You can choose to savour the brilliant construction of the narrative, or simply let the story wash over you.

It is hard to believe that a book following the story of a village over several years can hold a reader’s interest, but it does.

The world of the villagers shifts and transforms with the changing seasons of the rugged countryside around it (the location of which resonates strongly with anyone familiar with the Peak District). There is a distance in the way the villagers’ lives are related, but at the same time each loop of a narrative about a particular person keeps reeling you in tighter until you become emotionally involved.

The village and its surroundings are also characters in the story, and relating the ebb and flow of the seasons to the village and those in it become hypnotic.

At the back of your mind is always what has happened to the missing girl. But you become far more fascinated by the world you can see and experience through Jon McGregor’s skillful storytelling.

Reservoir 13 was courtesy of Fourth Estate via NetGalley

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