Book Review: Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

By: Stephen Highcock, Volunteer

“Reservoir 13” follows the lives of the people in a small village in Derbyshire over 13 years – a chapter for each year – after the mysterious disappearance of a young girl on the moors above the village. In James Wood’s (The New Yorker) words: “The villagers continue the rhythms of their lives: they farm the land, run the pub, tend the shops, and teach at the school; they grow up and marry, they procreate, divorce, and die.” The author’s indirect style and his way of illuminating the lives of the villagers, sometimes in only a few phrases, had a cumulative and powerful effect on me as I became emotionally very attached to the characters. It was wrenching at times to see a relationship (or a life) slowly disintegrate, but this was balanced by a flowering in the lives of others. At the same time the book beautifully chronicles the rhythms of the natural world in the surrounding countryside, their very regularity contrasting with the irregular evolution of the villagers’ lives. Recommended for readers who like Richard Ford, Marilynne Robinson, Elizabeth Strout, or Kent Haruf.

Steve Highcock has lived in Pennington for almost 30 years. He and his wife Cindy Dixon raised three children here. Their house is full of books and not surprisingly the children, now grown and out in the world, share their parents’ love of reading. Steve loves working in the library and likes nothing more than telling our patrons about books they might enjoy. He feels somewhat lost without a book to read (better still, two or three books!)