‘Reservoir 13’ – Jon McGregor

As in ‘If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things’ we focus on the little details, the easily forgotten minutiae of peoples’ lives…and it will not be to everyone’s tastes.

The story opens with a couple holidaying in an unnamed Peak District village desperately seeking help as their thirteen-year-old daughter has gone missing. Anyone expecting an action-packed thriller as we race to discover the girl/body – or establish what happened to her – will be left wanting. Rebecca, or Bex, fades into the background though her presence remains palpable for those left behind. What we get instead is a languid, dare I say it poetic, account of how this major event affects the village and those living in it.

We watch a huge cast of characters resume their daily lives, getting to know some in detail, and we follow them through the thirteen years following this event.

Setting in a novel such as this is everything, and there’s a real sense of beauty created here by McGregor. I wonder if it would still seem as beautiful if I didn’t live in a village very similar to that described here. Perhaps not, but I admired the sense of charm given to the everyday, the ordinary. Charting the ebb and flow of this village and those who live in it seems to have been a real labour of love.

Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy in exchange for my review, and though we’re never given all the answers we feel we want there’s plenty to satisfy us.

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