Reservoir 13

Jon McGregor (Author)


Evoking the spirit of Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides, Zadie Smith's NW, and Hisham Matar's Anatomy of a Disappearance, this novel sweeps the reader up quickly into its understated and emotionally moving story of a whole English village haunted by one family's loss.

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, sermons written, a pantomime rehearsed.

As the seasons unfold and the search for the missing girl goes on, there are those who leave the village and those who are pulled back; those who come together and those who break apart. There are births and deaths; secrets kept and exposed; livelihoods made and lost; small kindnesses and unanticipated betrayals. 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 tragedy refuse to subside.

Winner of the Costa Novel Award, Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017, and a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

Product Details

$16.95  $15.59
Publish Date
October 03, 2017
5.5 X 0.9 X 8.2 inches | 0.85 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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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 Award, and Somerset Maugham Award, and has been longlisted three times 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.



A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

An Amazon Best Book of the Year

A Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2017

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017

Shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize 2017

A Kirkus Best Book of 2017

A Los Angeles Review Best Book of the Year

"McGregor's book achieves a visionary power . . . he has written a novel with a quiet but insistently demanding, even experimental form. The word "collage" implies something static and finally fixed, but the beauty of "Reservoir 13" is in fact rhythmic, musical, ceaselessly contrapuntal . . . A remarkable achievement [and a] subtle unravelling of what we think of as the conventional project of the novel." --James Wood, The New Yorker

"McGregor is a beautiful, controlled writer, who can convey the pathos of a life in a few lines. Despite the large cast of characters, each feels specific and real. . . . [An] unconventional but affecting novel." --The New York Times Book Review

"Fiercely intelligent. . . . [An] astonishing new novel . . . strange, daring, and very moving. . . . The book is a rare and dazzling feat of art that also (in my reading of it) outs us, in a gentle way, for a certain gratuitous drama-seeking tendency we all tend to have as readers--a tendency that makes it harder to see the very real, consequential, beautiful, and human-scaled dramas occurring all around is in real life, in every moment (in nature, in human affairs)." --George Saunders, The Paris Review Daily

"The novel that blew me away this year was Jon McGregor's Reservoir 13. It's one of the most finely wrought books I've read in recent years. Only an extraordinarily accomplished writer can create, and people, a world with such linguistic restraint yet to such moving, even haunting, effect. It's a slow burn and deeply satisfying." --Eimear McBride, "Who Read What in 2017," The Wall Street Journal

"Disturbing, one-of-a-kind . . . Most books involving crime and foul play provide the consolation of some sort of resolution. But Mr. McGregor's novel, which was long-listed for this year's Man Booker Prize, shows how life, however unsettlingly, continues in the absence of such explanation." --Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal

"An intricate and absorbing mosaic-like structure of miniature stories, scenes and snapshots. . . . While Reservoir 13 starts out with the familiar hallmarks of a crime novel, it quickly develops into a quite different literary beast, one that acquires power and depth through bold form and style, not gripping drama and suspense. . . . This is unconventional storytelling, a daring way to tell a tale, but one that yields haunting and stimulating results." --Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

"An ambitious tour de force that demands the reader's attention; those willing to follow along will be rewarded with a singular and haunting story." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Meticulously crafted . . . A stunningly good, understated novel told in a mesmerizing voice." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"McGregor masterfully employs a free, indirect style that forgoes quotation marks and seamlessly blends narrative, dialogue, and wonderfully observant, poetic musings. . . . Longlisted for the Man Booker, McGregor's novel's subtly devastating impact ultimately imparts wisdom about the tenuous and priceless gift of life. For fans of Elizabeth Strout and Richard Russo." --Booklist (starred review)

"The writing is extraordinary." --Library Journal (starred review)

"Jon McGregor has revolutionized that most hallowed of mystery plots: the one where some foul deed takes place in a tranquil English village that, by the close of the case, doesn't feel so tranquil anymore. . . . McGregor's writing style is ingenious." --Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post

"A teenage girl disappears without a trace, and the community conducts a search, deals with the loss, and somehow goes on living. A brilliant feat: a portrait of the passage of time." --Jessica Zafra, Esquire

"McGregor's lyrical prose and sense of detail totally immerse the reader." --BookPage

"A wonderful book. [Jon McGregor]'s an extraordinary writer, unlike anyone else." --Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water

"A new novel from the absurdly gifted Jon McGregor, seven years after the IMPAC-winning Even the Dogs, Reservoir 13 is haunting and heartbreaking, the tale of a disappearance and its aftermath--his best yet." --The Guardian, "Fiction to look out for in 2017"

"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." --The Rumpus

"Jon McGregor's haunting mystery novel about the ways in which we measure our lives will get under your skin. Let it." --Bustle

"Jon McGregor's Reservoir 13 [is] filled with things I wish I'd written; not mere cleverness, but cool and capacious intelligence." --Teju Cole, Faber Social

"It starts like a missing-person novel, almost like a police procedural, but it's really anything but that. What it is, is a unique story of a town, and the hero is nature. I liked The Overstory; I loved this." --Mark Bittman, Amazon Books, A Favorite Read of the Year

"Jon McGregor has been quietly building a reputation as one of the outstanding writers of his generation since 2002, when he became the youngest writer to be longlisted for the Booker prize... Reservoir 13 is an extraordinary achievement; a portrait of a community that leaves the reader with an abiding affection for its characters, because we recognise their follies and frailties and the small acts of kindness and courage that bind them together." --Observer (UK)

"Fascinating... McGregor is a writer with extraordinary control... Reservoir 13 is an enthralling and brilliant investigation of disturbing elements embedded deeply in our story tradition." --Tessa Hadley, The Guardian

''He excels at charting how, over the years, relationships fray, snap or twine together...There are images Seamus Heaney might have coveted... Making clarity gleam with poetry, McGregor again highlights the remarkable in the everyday." --The Sunday Times (UK)

"Award-winning Jon McGregor defies expectations with this superbly crafted and mesmerizingly atmospheric portrait of an unnamed village ... Unsentimental and occasionally very funny, this is a haunting, beautiful book." --Daily Mail

"This is above all 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 the works of such varied brilliance as Ronald Blythe's Akenfield, Jim Crace's Harvest and Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood." --Times Literary Supplement

"Even by the standards of his mature work, 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

"Reservoir 13 leaves the reader feeling mesmerised, disconcerted and with senses oddly heightened, as if something had walked over their own grave." --The Australian

"Jon McGregor is a terrifyingly ingenious writer. He brings to his writing not only the gift of seeing and imagining, but the capacity of hypothesizing and hypnotizing. Reservoir 13 allures readers into an engrossing journey only to end within ourselves, where reality is the darkest fairytale." --Yiyun Li, PEN/Hemingway Award-winning author of Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life

"Reservoir 13 is quite extraordinary--the way it's structured, the way it rolls, the skill with which Jon McGregor lets the characters breathe and age. It's like watching more than a decade of living from a slow-moving train." --Roddy Doyle, Man Booker Prize-winning author of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

"Reservoir 13 is a masterfully paced and grippingly controlled read that finds the shadows, the wildness, in the ordinary heart of a community." --Colin Barrett, Rooney Prize-winning author of Young Skins

"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, Baileys Women's Prize-winning author of A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing

"If you don't yet know you should read novels by Jon McGregor, then I can't help you." --Evie Wyld, Miles Franklin Award-winning author of All the Birds, Singing

"Quite unlike anything I have read before. McGregor writes with rare elegance and integrity. If people were not already aware that here is one of our most accomplished living writers, they certainly will be now." --Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent

"If more proof were needed that Jon McGregor is one of the finest and most versatile novelists writing today, this is it. Reservoir 13 is a unique feat of communitarian storytelling, full of humanity, humility, drama and mystery. Turning within a natural almanac, the lives of its characters ebb and flow as the years pass, as they encounter tragedy, conflict, the best and worst aspects of each other. It's rare to find a writer with symmetry and understanding of both the natural world and its residents - especially the edgelands - rarer still to find an author of such compassionate reach and existential balance, but McGregor writes with such grace and precision, with love even, about who and where we are, that he leaves behind all other writers of his generation." --Sarah Hall, Betty Trask Award-winning author of The Wolf Border

More Praise for Jon McGregor

"Jon McGregor is a writer who will make a significant stamp on world literature. In fact, he already has." --Colum McCann

"Jon McGregor writes with frightening intelligence and impeccable technique. Every page is a revelation." --Teju Cole

"Jon McGregor's stories are full of unremarkable landscape, destabilizing drama, and people-- pinned in place by themselves. But they gleam with endearing detail. His writing is unnerving, unconventional and lovely." -- Leanne Shapton

"These stories are illuminated by Jon McGregor's fearless and humane imagination. Both tragic and comic, they form a polyphonic portrait of a people and a place. Exhilarating." -- Katie Kitamura

"Jon McGregor's uncanny stories linger long after you have finished them. He quietly inserts distinct, convincing voices into vivid and compelling landscapes." ―Dana Spiotta


"30 electric tales . . . This is a book of ominous preludes and chilling aftermaths . . . McGregor stealthily commands our active engagement, scattering crumbs of data for us to pick through, gumshoe-style." ―New York Times Book Review

"Each tale in this slim, elegant book does something most of us wish would happen to us in real life: It stops us in a humdrum moment and reveals how that small, unnoticed sliver of time can illuminate an entire life . . . Magic." ―, Book of the Week

"Jon McGregor's uncanny stories linger long after you have finished them. He quietly inserts distinct, convincing voices into vivid and compelling landscapes. This original, beautiful, and haunting book totally captivated me." ―Dana Spiotta, author of Innocents and Others and National Book Award Finalist Eat the Document

"John McGregor is one of the UK's most fascinating and versatile writers. The fact that most American readers have never heard of him does not speak well of us. Let's all buy his book NOW." ―Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story

"These stories by Jon McGregor feel as if they are made half of words and half of the earth. They are elegant, understated, sometimes wry, and yet full of the drama and passion of life." ―Matthew Sharpe, author of You Were Wrong

Praise for EVEN THE DOGS (2010)

"As a novel about the consequences of addiction--particularly heroin addiction--Even the Dogs is harrowing. It details the physical, psychological, social and environmental damage, and portrays the all-consuming nature of the life . . . Using ghosts as narrators gives the book a haunting overtone. It lends resonance even to a simple observation like 'We see things differently now.' And it lets McGregor write with a gritty omniscience." ―New York Times Book Review

"Ambitious, haunting . . . thought-provoking." ―Boston Globe

"A rare combination of profound empathy and wonderful writing." ―Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

"Those who enjoyed Hubert Selby Jr.'s "Requiem for a Dream" will value the style and the subject matter." ―Library Journal

"McGregor succeeds in paying homage to the dispossessed and the hopeless, who live and die on the margins of society." ―Booklist

"McGregor puts the reader into the minds of this interconnected web of people bent on various journeys of self-destruction. He constructs a powerful, disjointed narrative about dependency that is nearly impossible to put down, though it's not easy reading." ―PopMatters

"Absolutely OUTSTANDING . . . Jon McGregor is a writer who will make a significant stamp on world literature. In fact, he already has . . . an incredible book, I just adored it." --Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning author of Let The Great World Spin


"McGregor's publishers must be openly rejoicing . . . If Nobody Speaks Of Remarkable Things is the work of a burning new talent." --Elizabeth Buchan, Daily Mail (UK)

"Mcgregor is an exemplary archivist of the humdrum . . .someone who detects so passionately the remarkable in the everyday." --The Spectator (UK)

"You won't read anything much more poignant than this." --Daily Telegraph (UK)