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Summary

A Guardian Book of the Year

A Financial Times Book of the Year

A TLS Book of the Year

An Observer Book of the Year

A Telegraph Book of the Year

From the award-winning author of If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things. 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.

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 13 years as the aftershocks of a stranger's tragedy refuse to subside.

Winner of the 2017 Costa Novel Award

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize

©2017 Jon McGregor (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"A rare and dazzling feat of art." (George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo)
"McGregor writes with such grace and precision, with love even, about who and where we are, that he leaves behind all other writers of his generation." (Sarah Hall, author of The Wolf Border)
" Reservoir 13 is quite extraordinary – the way it’s structured, the way it rolls, the skill with which Jon McGregor lets the characters breathe and age." (Roddy Doyle, author of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr
  • BRISTOL, United Kingdom
  • 15-10-17

Like a very long episode of The Archers

A perfectly valid insight into village life, but it just never gets going. I found it difficult to distinguish between the myriad of (perfectly reasonably) uninteresting characters, and whilst the narrator is fine, he doesn't add anything to help differentiate them either. Not one I'm going to listen to again.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Highly tedious

A drab and protracted tale of village life. Such a disappointment after the author's exceptional first novel

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Draws you in then won't let go. Deceptively good.

I have read Jon McGregor's previous novels and have always been amazed at his talent for making the lives of ordinary people seem somehow extraordinary. And this novel continues that theme, but on a much larger scale.

Told over a lengthy time period, the narrative tells of the lives of numerous characters who all live in a northern village which is dealt hammer blow when a young girl, a visitor to the village, goes missing. Some of the villagers remain, some leave and then return to it; but throughout the tale their lives and backstories are described gradually and with bittersweet humanity against a backdrop of the everyday rhythms of village life, seasonal events and references to the surrounding geography and nature. Secrets are revealed and concealed, relationships break against or survive the trauma of the mystery surrounding the missing girl and tension builds up towards the final chapter. Towards the end, one character becomes a focus for doubt and I began to wonder if I had guessed the fate of the girl.

The ending of the novel is ambiguous (to my mind) and I found this quite frustrating. That aside though, I loved the languid pace of the novel, the beauty of the language and the variety of the characters. I felt that I had shared their hopes and dreams, their tragedies and their secrets. The author reveals much about character and motivation in the smallest of details and in spare but incisive dialogue.

I really loved this novel and it will stay with me for a long time, I'm sure.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Beautiful but boring

This tempts you in with the promise of a suspenseful story but really it is a long drawn out essay about rural life filled with well dressing, sheep tupping and other mystical agricultural pursuits. I admit the writing does have a certain soporific beauty but I’m afraid its sleep inducing powers were too much for me and I gave up.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Why all the awards?

I get the point of this book, namely the slow passage of time with not a great deal happening - such is life. And it has merit, but only in its poetic description of nature. But ultimately it left me completely empty, a feeling I'd had from start to finish. Perhaps that was the real point, but not really what I want from a book.

Most surprising to me are the number of awards given to this book. I guess this says more about its competitors than anything.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Everything and nothing

This is not a story about a missing girl. It's more a story of a village, reminding me of "Under Milkwood" more than once.

There are dozens of characters, but so little physical description of any of them it's very hard to remember who they all are. The structure is not so much a tapestry as a bundle of raw threads. There are lovely phrases, but I didn't find myself caring too much about any of the characters. I kept listening hoping that we would at least find a clue to what had happened, because that really would have been brilliant. I have enough unresolved dilemmas in my life not to need fictional ones. Perhaps the clues are there and I'm just too dim to see them, after all, lots of clever people have said this is great literature. My not-so-clever criterion for deciding a book's greatness is whether or not I would read/listen to it more than once. In this case I would not.

I'm not sure I would have completed this if I hadn't got the impression it was a mystery in the generally accepted sense, and I think it is misleading to describe it as such.

The imagery here is beautiful, but I think less would have been more.
It's been described as 'poignant' but it left me depressed and irritable.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Poignant but slow

This is rather a depressing account about how families and communities attempt to deal with the case of a missing person. In this instance it is about how society moves on with their lives leaving behind the families to deal with it. it is well written with beautiful descriptions but it tends to be quite a slow burner.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My book of the year

Like nothing else I've heard. A collage of stories about a Peak District village, told in snippets and stitched together over 20 years. Each year is described sequentially and the rhythms of the year allowed to recur. The effect is amazing- with the story and characters growing in richness and depth. Both comforting and a little sad. A beautiful, brilliant novel and one to marvel at.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not a detective story

Loved this- but then I'm a big fan of those French films in which very little happens. The disappearance, in other words, the ceasing to exist, of Becks serves as a counterpoint to life rolling on in the village. The book is a detailed description of 'ordinary' life, which just keeps on going year in year out. Not a fault, but there is not much exploration of people's inner life, emotion or motivation. In the main the characters just do stuff, go to bed get up and do more stuff and I was left with the sense it's all ultimately pointless-but in a good way!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Well, I persevered to the end!

I wondered if it was just me who found this excruciatingly boring; thankfully about three-quarters through, I read some reviews and found I was not alone. It bothers me when I read a book and simply don’t care about anyone in it. The disappearance of the girl was just a trick ; it became increasingly clear there would be no resolution, and I increasingly didn’t care. Thankfully I was doing useful mundane household tasks while listening to it via audible, otherwise I would regret the lost hours of my life .

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Cliente Amazon
  • 20-03-18

Well executed but oh so boring!

The story of a village, a small country village over a few years. Completely realistic I don't doubt but day after day of mundane, dreary, every day events holds little if any interest for the reader/ listener. Not recommended at all.