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Reservoir 13: WINNER OF THE 2017 COSTA NOVEL AWARD Paperback – 6 March 2018
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‘A wonderful book. He’s an extraordinary writer, unlike anyone else’ Paula Hawkins
‘Absolutely magnificent; one of the most beautiful, affecting novels I've read in years. The prose is alive and ringing. There is so much space and life in every sentence. I don't know how he's done it. It's beautiful‘ Eimear McBride
‘A triumph’ Telegraph
‘This is a book quite unlike anything I have read before. There's a hypnotic pull to the narrative, which has an irresistibly cumulative effect: in time I felt intimately immersed in a community traumatised by tragedy. Moreover McGregor writes with rare grace and integrity, and with such exquisite care the reader would be hard-pressed to find an infelicitous syllable, still less a word or phrase. If people were not already aware that here is one of our most accomplished living writers, they certainly will be now’ Sarah Perry
‘Award-winning Jon McGregor defies expectations with this superbly crafted and mesmerizingly atmospheric portrait of an unnamed Yorkshire village… Unsentimental and occasionally very funny, this is a haunting, beautiful book’ Daily Mail
‘So beautifully written’ Mail on Sunday
‘If you don't yet know you should read novels by Jon McGregor, then I can't help you' Evie Wyld
‘A work of intense, forensic noticing; an unobtrusively experimental, thickly atmospheric portrait of the life of a village which, for its mixture of truthfulness and potency, deserves to be set alongside works of such varied brilliance as Ronald Blythe’s Akenfield, Jim Crace’s Harvest and Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood’ Sarah Crown, TLS
‘McGregor’s latest novel is a remarkable achievement… Fluid and fastidious, its sparing loveliness feels deeply true to its subject. There are moments, as in life, of miraculous grace, but no more than that…(a) humane and tender masterpiece’ Irish Times
‘Making clarity gleam with poetry, McGregor again highlights the remarkable in the everyday’ Peter Kemp, Sunday Times
About the Author
Jon McGregor is the author of four novels and a story collection. He is the winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literature Prize, Betty Trask Prize, and Somerset Maugham Award, and has twice been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nottingham, where he edits The Letters Page, a literary journal in letters. He was born in Bermuda in 1976, grew up in Norfolk, and now lives in Nottingham.
- Publisher : 4th Estate GB (6 March 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0008204896
- ISBN-13 : 978-0008204891
- Dimensions : 12.8 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 191,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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I can see how it was nominated for a number of awards, and highly praised.
Top reviews from other countries
It is the sort of book that is hard to describe, but it is a must-read for any aspiring writer. I was slightly bemused to begin with by the lack of paragraphs, but found that this added to the momentum of the narrative. It won't suit those who like potboilers or page-turners, but those who admire beautifully written prose should not pass it by.
This isn't really a story, more a commentary on life and the passage of time. Something terrible happened, the set-up at the beginning of the novel, but the rest of the book demonstrates repeatedly that in the grand scheme of things it's just another thing that happens. It affects people, some worse than others, and then life goes on.
For me, this book seemed to focus on how small and unimportant we humans actually are and how little our personal stories matter without presenting any hope as a counterbalance. It seems like a bleak and unforgiving message and for that reason I found the book depressing.
I was also irritated with not getting a handle on who was who except for a handful of characters because there are so many and each only gets a few lines at a time.
There were a some moments and vignettes which I found rewarding, where I thought, ah, I like that. The writer is very talented but in the end I didn't know most of the characters or care what happened to them. I just wanted to get out of that village!
Here the problem is the same, compounded by a narrative structure that requires the author to run through every year of thirteen years in a month by month format, one year per chapter. This is presumably meant to be a dissertation on time, but it doesn't work over a full length novel: it is repetitive, the point made quickly by chapters 1 and 2. Plus the lack of engagement with the characters means the point lacks much punch. This distance also prevents the author building on the characters or exploiting the emotional and humorous aspects of their lives.
The story is told more by what it doesn't say than what it does, which I liked, but it also means you finish the book feeling short changed because, ultimately, nothing has really been said.
I read books to be informed and entertained. The author clearly had some interesting points to make but the narrative style blunted them and made the book less engaging. So on my two criteria, it failed. Even if the critics loved it.