By Jon McGregor
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
I fully acknowledge the reason I gave this book two stars might have been me rather than because the book was bad. I tried Jon McGregor's work once before: If noone speaks of remarkable things was the book I tried and I hated it. After reading this book I realised his writing style is just not for me.
I liked the sound of the book but I hated it, I just found it really dull. I was expecting to read a story about the missing girl and for the details of lives in the village to be the filler but instead it felt like the other way round.
"They gathered at the car park in the hour before dawn and wanted to be told what to do. It was cold and there was little conversation. There were questions that weren't being asked. The missing girl's name was Rebecca Shaw."
Rebecca had been out for a walk with her parents when she disappeared, they had come to stay in the village for New Year. She was 13 years old, five feet tall and had dark blonde hair.
"They'd come running into the village at dusk, shouting. It was a cold night to have been out on the hill. She's likely just hiding, people said. She'll be down in a clough. Turned her ankle. She'll be aiming to give her parents a fright."
Peppered throughout the book are observations from the villagers about what happened to the girl. Many of the villagers also seem to know more about the events than they are letting on.
However, life goes on and it does so in drearily minute detail.
I am not the only to have reviewed this book though and many of the reviewers seem to have enjoyed the book much more than I did.
Our Final Rating...
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