Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor review – a chilling meditation on loss and time
The rural village, the missing girl, the search for a body … then life goes on, as an archetypal story is rekindled with explosive resultsTessa Hadley
Saturday 14 April 2017
And then as our expectations are strained to the limit, we begin to realise that the writer is deflecting them into something else, taking us into another kind of novel altogether. What actually fills up the pages, fills up narrative time while we wait to find the girl, is an omniscient narration moving easily around and inside a whole collective of protagonists in the village and following them through their daily lives, none of them dominating the story space. There is Geoff the embittered potter; Sally with the compromised marriage and the dangerous brother; Irene who cleans and struggles stoically with her son with special needs; Jones whose sister doesn’t come out of the house (ah, is Rebecca in there?); Jackson the farmer who has a stroke and dominates his grown-up sons from his sick bed. Rebecca’s unhappy parents are glimpsed at a distance, falling apart with their grief and lack of certainty (or, did her father do it?). There are the teenagers who, it turns out, did have something to do with Rebecca while she was alive – James kissed her. But that is probably just another distraction. Poor James is haunted; he doesn’t know what happened to Rebecca, either.