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Reservoir 13

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  12,164 ratings  ·  2,004 reviews
Midwinter in an English village. A teenage girl has gone missing. Everyone is called upon to join the search. The villagers fan out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on what is usually a place of peace. Meanwhile, there is work that must still be done: cows milked, fences repaired, stone cut, pints poured, beds made, se ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 6th 2017 by Fourth Estate
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Lisa The print version is divided into chapters and the chapters are short, and there are paragraphs within the chapters though they are long ones. But if …moreThe print version is divided into chapters and the chapters are short, and there are paragraphs within the chapters though they are long ones. But if I may share my experience as a reader, I would say that you're going to miss out on some terrific books if the lack of paragraphs puts you off. We all have different tastes in reading, and I respect your choice, but this is a beautiful book that teaches us much about the impact of an unexplained disappearance on a community. I think the author constructed the book this way to show how events blur into each other as the cycle of life progresses and as nature continues on its way no matter what humans may do. I found that as I read on, the patterns of life became more and more recognisable. (less)
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Average rating 3.56  · 
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 ·  12,164 ratings  ·  2,004 reviews

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Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the first novel that I have read by this author and I loved it. This is less a novel about crime and more a reflective meditation of the flow and rhythms of nature, the lives and actions of characters throughout a period of years. It is a story of ordinariness, the reality of how life is in the country and delivered with understated prose. I could not help but be moved by the narrative and enchanted by the poetic and lyrical writing.

It is set in a village in the Peak District and is oste
I'm not sure that the world needs another review of this fine novel, so I'm going to keep this short. I think by now most of you may already know the basics: the novel opens as a search begins for a teenage girl, Rebecca Shaw, who has gone missing while her family was vacationing in the village for the New Year. However, the novel is not a mystery or a thriller, but instead provides, year by year, micro-updates on life in the village. Each of the novel's 13 chapters covers one year, just as the ...more
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Lovely descriptions of nature are insufficient compensation for an uneventful plot and a slew of forgettable characters.

Paula K (on hiatus)
I loved this wonderfully written novel with it’s beautifully detailed prose and unusual style. Winner of the Costa Book Award and Booker nominee, Reservoir 13 was such a fulfilling read.

The book is considered a mystery of sorts as it starts with a 13 year old girl going missing when vacationing in an English village with her family. The author describes the continuation of life as the seasons change with the village events of one year for each of the books chapters.

I’ve never read such an extra
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx2017-completed
This is my kind of book. Slow moving like the surface of an undisturbed river, yet with currents underneath prepared to carry one away, toss a person like dross in its swirling, or pull one into subterranean depths.

From the beginning, we know that a young girl of 13 goes missing and the village where this occurs is never the same. Each chapter explores yet another year in the life of the village and its people, and for me there was a slow-growing undercurrent of nebulous unease as more and more
Oct 15, 2017 marked it as abandoned
I first gave up on Reservoir 13 after the first chapter and I should have left it there. After I read a couple of praising reviews from friends that I trust and it got shortlisted for the Goldsmith prize I decided to give it another change. I struggled to read another chapter but I cannot continue.

I guess it is because of the higher importance the writer gives to the structures than to the plot and characters. There are too many characters and too many lives to follow and I just don't care.

Beautifully written, with an ever-present sense of the narrator being less of a person or a being, and more as the all-seeing village that overlooks all, and looks over all. It looks over the landscape that surrounds them, the village and the villagers, watching as life changes with the seasons and the passing of time.

“Once my heart was filled with the love of a girl.
I held her close, but she faded in the night
Like a poem I meant to write.
And the leaves that are green turn to brown,
And they
Jeffrey Keeten
”She could have walked high over the moor and stumbled into a flooded clough and sunk cold and deep in the wet peat before the dogs and thermal cameras came anywhere near, her skin tanned leather-brown and soft and her hair coiled neatly around her. She could have fallen anywhere and be lying there still.”

The whole village spreads out across the moors looking for this 13 year old girl who simply vanished without a trace. They search everywhere, and for the next 13 years, everyone touched by her
Location, location, location

This is set in a farming village, within sight of the lights of a motorway (freeway). It’s remarkably claustrophobic for a story set in the countryside, often outdoors.

Squabbles on the parish council. Cricket rivalry with neighbouring villages. Wariness of tourists and incomers, despite a limited pool of people to hang out with, let alone date. Dances, pantomimes, and festivals in the community hall. Church attendance that is about tradition as much as belief. And th
Elyse Walters
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I finished this yesterday mid-morning. I’m still thinking about it. I had a few discussions already.

No paragraphs - at all!!!!
Creative unique writing. It works - kinda lovely.
However - I began to tire of the repetitiveness . (Great beginning).
Then even color of clothes kept being repeated ...
The repetitiveness-started to make me a little restless. is repetitive.....
I can get tired of cycles of how repetitive life is at times, too. ( so, sure, I thought about this valuable message)
This is my second book from this year's Man Booker longlist, and for me it already looks like a potential winner. I had been intending to wait for the paperback but decided to buy the hardback as soon as the longlist was announced, since it was the one I was most looking forward to, especially after the positive reviews.
Update 29/8/17: Having read all but four of the longlist, this one is still my favourite. The rest of my shortlist would be Autumn, Home Fire, Days Without End, Solar Bones and
I usually write my thoughts about books immediately on finishing, sometimes even while reading, but during the last two months I've had no time at all to reflect on the books I've read. Now that I have more leisure, I'm realizing how interesting an exercise it is to look back and ask myself whether it is worthwhile to try to recall the reactions I had to each particular book. What makes one book cry out to be written about and not another? So curious.

Reservoir 13 is a book I'm certain I need to
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I am SO TORN about this book. I've been thinking about it for days. I think part of my issue is that how it is being sold to the reader - the disappearance of a girl, the fallout - is not really what the book is. It is true that there is a disappearance but it's a much slower book - about the town, the nature in the town, the seasons, all the little people and all their little lives, the cycles they go through, the long reaching effects of all of the tragedies, the girl included - the way secret ...more
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: published-2017
Admiration rather than love is what I felt for this. Eventually, I found myself thinking it was too long and would have been more powerful as a novella. The narrative voice of Reservoir 13 is just about as dispassionate as a narrative voice can be. It's like we see what goes on in this English village from a drone hovering overhead whose recording apparatus finds the interactions of human beings no more significant than the weather and the activity of wildlife. It's almost Homeric in its unrelen ...more
5★ +
“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. There was a lot of this. People just wanted to open their mouths and talk, and they didn’t much mind what came out.”

Experiencing this novel was like flying slowly above a village at every change of season and watching the ebb and flow of people’s activities and relationships. A girl disappeared. Everyone has an opinion, and some are on the hunt. Parents keep a
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book although it was one of those books where, as I approached the end, I felt very creeped out…i.e., ‘who committed the terrible crime?’. I stressed “very” in “very creeped out” because throughout the whole novel I was creeped out. So, a word of warning — read this book during a period of time when you can accept being creeped out while reading it and while being away from it (your thoughts will return to the book). I have finished reading the book, and I don’t feel creeped out any ...more
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Finally recognised for an award.

The Costa beats the Booker and Goldsmith this year as second most perceptive judging panel of the year.

Re-read this book after its longlisting for the Booker. I can't add anything to my review below and it remained my firm favourite to win the Booker prize. I was therefore very disappointed that it did not even make the shortlist.

However delighted now that it's innovative approach was recognised by the Goldsmith judges; so much so that with a small group of Good
The Hook - There are many fine reviews of Reservoir 13 written by my GoodReads friends but it is this one by Kasa Cotugno that convince me I must read this book. Thank you.

The Line(s) - ”On the reservoirs the water was whipped up into whitecaps. It was a decade now the girl had been missing, and although little talked about she was still in people’s thoughts. Her name was Rebecca, or Becky, or Bex. She’d been wearing a white hooded top with a navy-blue body-warmer. She would be twenty-three yea
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I didn't really enjoy this one, sadly. I thought the novel's structure—13 chapters, each representing a year in the life of a village after the disappearance of a 13-year-old girl—was interesting but had me struggling through the book. It was repetitive by nature and while some people might enjoy that I found it to be tedious and was glad to be done by the end. The writing about nature and the village's surroundings were beautifully mixed into the story, but I didn't care enough about the charac ...more
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-mbp, 2017-read, uk
Winner of the Costa Book Award 2017 *sigh*
I have thought long and hard about why I dislike this text, especially because so many people whose opinion I value just loved it, and I could even find all the points they have raised in order to explain why they liked this novel so much in the text, but their well-made arguments did not change the fact that this book did almost nothing for me. So here are some attempts to explain why I found myself so underwhelmed:

The structure of the book dominates (i
Rebecca Carter
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
13 year Rebecca, or Bex, or Becky Shaw goes missing over New Years from a small village in the Peak District area. She had been staying in a rented holiday cottage with her parents over the New Year period. Search teams, emergency services and volunteers relentlessly look for her up the hills, rivers, cloughs, streams, valleys, moors and reservoirs, but to no avail. She just appears to have vanished. The media appears in full force, following the search teams, appeals, and the press conferences ...more
Diane Barnes
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am having a hard time with the star rating here, because some facets of this book were brilliant, but it was also very repetitive and a tad bit tedious because of that. I had been warned from other reviews that this was not a traditional mystery, so that was okay, no expectations. I also knew it was a quiet kind of book, with very little plot, but that was okay, I like that kind of read. Also a bit experimental, 13 chapters, each representing a year in the life of a village after the disappear ...more
Oct 29, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Paul Fulcher
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Longlisted for the Booker, shortlisted for the Goldsmiths, now winner of the Costa Prize - indisputably the book of 2017 ....

In April he first swallows were seen, swooping low over the pastures in the early morning and taking the insects which rose with the dew. And still the sound of a helicopter clattering by was never just the sound of a helicopter but everything that sound had once meant.

Update: The book that should have won the Booker but was inexplicably dropped at shortlist stage - but no
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like this one. I’m not sure I can explain it or do a review that does it justice, but I’ll try.

“Reservoir 13” starts with a search for a missing thirteen year old girl named Rebecca Shaw. Rebecca has gone missing in a rural English village. She and her parents were visiting and staying in a barn conversion. The three of them went for a walk on a cold winter’s day and Rebecca lagged behind – and then disappeared.

The book has thirteen chapters and aside f
Roger Brunyate


A Pennine Almanac
They gathered at the car park in the hour before dawn and waited to be told what to do. It was cold and there was little conversation. There were question that weren't being asked. The missing girl's name was Rebecca Shaw. When last seen she'd been wearing a white hooded top. A mist hung low across the moor and the ground was frozen hard. They were given instructions and then they moved off, their boots crunching on the stiffened ground and
McGregor's remarkable achievement in this novel long-listed for the 2017 Man Booker Prize is the flammable combination of his intimacy and his distance. He is daring in never mentioning Reservoir 13 again after naming his novel after it and insinuating, merely by its prominence, that it had something to do with the disappearance of Rebecca, or Becky, or Bex, the 13-year-old girl who disappeared one year and was never accounted for, though she’d been looked for and not forgotten for the thirteen ...more
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-novels
One of my favourite books this year. The novel is set in a village in Derbyshire, the Peak District (the well dressing gives that away). It starts at New Year in the early 2000s with the disappearance of a thirteen year old girl, staying in a holiday rental with her family. The village is a tourist spot close to the moors and the title refers to a series of reservoirs in the hills above and beyond the town. The narrative consists of thirteen chapters, each of them covers a year, the chapters bei ...more
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
A truly beautiful and moving book. Not a conventional novel at all. Rather, Reservoir 13 is the chronicle of a village over 13 years, with each chapter taking the reader through a cycle of seasons in a rhythm that gradually becomes familiar.

McGregor pays as much attention to the animal life of the village (badgers, foxes, butterflies, birds and a handful of pet dogs) as he does to its human inhabitants. The portrait is of a place that is at once timeless (set amidst ancient standing stones, wit
Kimberly Dawn
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Jon McGregor is a British author who has written three novels. His first novel, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, was nominated for the 2002 Booker Prize and was the winner of both the Betty Trask Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award in 2003. So Many Ways to Begin was published in 2006 and was on the Booker prize long list. Even the Dogs was published in 2010, and his newest work, Reservoir 1 ...more

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