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Reservoir 13: A Novel by Jon McGregor

Reservoir 13: A Novel

by Jon McGregor

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3862339,767 (4.11)89
  1. 00
    On Beulah Height by Reginald Hill (AdonisGuilfoyle)
    AdonisGuilfoyle: Similar setting and premise - girl goes missing, reservoirs formed from flooded villages - but more of a plot from Dalziel and Pascoe.

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
This is not a crime novel. Yes, a girl disappears in the opening pages and a massive search of the countryside around a Yorkshire village is conducted, but that's simply the entry point to the life of this village as it slowly returns to a kind of normal, as the years pass. Each passing year is contained in a chapter, each month in a paragraph. The various people living in and around the village live their lives; babies are born, businesses go bankrupt, the sheep are sheared, the fox kits grow up and leave their dens.

The entire novel rests on the quality of McGregor's writing and on his ability to describe complex situations in a minimum of words and of writing vivid, breathing characters in just a few sentences here and there. It took me a few chapters to fall into the rhythm of the novel, but once I did, I enjoyed every minute spent with it. Reservoir 13 really is an extraordinary book. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Aug 29, 2018 |
This book is written in a unique style. On winter's night, 13-year-old Rebecca (or Becky or Bex) disappears from a small town where she was vacationing with her parents. This has a profound impact on the town, whose citizens joined in the search, who had interacted with Rebecca or her family, talked to police or reporters.....

Over the course of a decade, each new year is marked by fireworks, seasonal changes in animals and plants and the lives of the citizens go on. Couples break up, come together, have babies, die....and Rebecca (or Becky or Bex) while never forgotten, fades further into the background.

What is unique about the style is that the author writes in a very matter-of-fact way -- simple sentences, short vignettes of many citizens --yet manages to draw the reader into the life of the community and its inhabitants. Very well done! ( )
  LynnB | Jul 29, 2018 |
This book is very different from most books I read, but nonetheless I found that it captured my interest pretty well. Given that there was a cast of thousands, and every relationship was therefore necessarily dealt with very briefly, I was surprised at how well McGregor could capture the essence of the relationships, and indeed, how involved the reader could become. McGregor shows a wonderful ability to paint a picture of a village which is profoundly affected by the disappearance of a young girl, and yet which continues on with some sort of normal life. My main problem was keeping track of all those characters and who they were connected to. It will certainly be keeping Mr McGregor on my "to read" list, he seems to be very perceptive about subtle and brief interactions between people. ( )
  oldblack | Jul 18, 2018 |
The book starts with the disappearance of a visiting teenage girl on New Year’s Eve from a small village in the area of the Yorkshire/Lancashire borer. This event colours the lives of the village inhabitants and the girl’s parents as we follow the course of their lives over the next thirteen years. McGregor intersperses scenes form the villagers’ lives and their work with descriptions of the changing rhythms of the seasons and the wildlife during this period. This accumulation and his quiet, but stylish prose charts how the inhabitants change in response to the disappearance but also describes how their interrelationships alter over the course of the years. Altogether, these descriptions and observations make for a mesmerising flow to the passage of time.
  camharlow2 | Jun 28, 2018 |
My final thought about this novel, upon getting to the end, was 'I FEEL CHEATED'. But then I realised that this must be sort of the point of the whole exercise - the author was playing his readers all along. Missing teen Rebecca - 'or Becky, or Bex', wearing a white hooded top, blue bodywarmer, black jeans and canvas shoes - is the lynchpin of the story, but this is not her story. We only learn about her through the other characters, and with every passing year, marked by fireworks, well-dressing, badgers, foxes and swallows, she fades more and more into the background, while the lives of those who still remember her move on. In a way, this Rebecca is like Daphne Du Maurier's eponymous character, driving the narrative from the memories of others.

I will admit to getting drawn in, after initially dreading the lack of basic narrative markers, such as dialogue and paragraphs (alright, there are paragraphs, but the wall of text faced on every new page was still daunting!) Lives move on, but nothing really happens - children grow up, couples grow apart, people die. It's like a very boring episode of early Emmerdale. But for all that, I was hooked - although I was still hoping for some resolution! I felt I got to know most of the characters, though, which is quite a feat .

Just a thought - if anyone is looking for a novel with a similar premise but more of a plot, try On Beulah Height by Reginald Hill, a Dalziel and Pascoe mystery. The setting is very similar, with reservoirs formed out of flooded villages, and the story involves a missing girl. ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Jun 16, 2018 |
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The river is moving.

The blackbird must be flying.

— Wallace Stevens
i.m. Alistair McGregor 1945 -2015
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They gathered at the car park in the hour before dawn and waited to be told what to do.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0008204853, Hardcover)

From the award-winning author of If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things and Even the Dogs. Reservoir 13 tells the story of many lives haunted by one family's loss. Midwinter in the early years of this century. A teenage girl on holiday has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England. The villagers are called up to join the search, fanning out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on their usually quiet home. Meanwhile, there is work that must still be done: cows milked, fences repaired, stone cut, pints poured, beds made, sermons written, a pantomime rehearsed. The search for the missing girl goes on, but so does everyday life. As it must. As the seasons unfold there are those who leave the village and those who are pulled back; those who come together or break apart. There are births and deaths; secrets kept and exposed; livelihoods made and lost; small kindnesses and unanticipated betrayals. Bats hang in the eaves of the church and herons stand sentry in the river; fieldfares flock in the hawthorn trees and badgers and foxes prowl deep in the woods - mating and fighting, hunting and dying. An extraordinary novel of cumulative power and grace, Reservoir 13 explores the rhythms of the natural world and the repeated human gift for violence, unfolding over thirteen years as the aftershocks of a stranger's tragedy refuse to subside.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 09 Nov 2016 03:29:47 -0500)

A teenage girl has gone missing and everyone is called upon to join the search. The villagers fan out across the English moors as the police set up roadblocks and news reporters descend. Meanwhile, there is still work that must be done: cows milked, fences repaired, stone cut, pints poured, sermons written, a pantomime rehearsed. As the seasons unfold and the search for the missing girl goes on, there are those who leave the village and those who are pulled back; those who come together and those who break apart.… (more)

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