Sunday, July 22, 2018

Jon McGregor - Reservoir 13 (4th Estate, 2017) **

As much as I enjoyed "If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things", "Reservoir 13" left me totally uninterested.

It's the story of a village in England where a girl went missing. She was never found, and life continues. People do what people do. Some leave, some stay. The original story remains in a kind of undercurrent flow in the lives of all the characters presented here. The problem is: none of them is interesting, and neither are their lives. You expect the story about the missing Rebecca to be resolved, and you can admire McGregor's twist to move away from the cliché thriller or police novel, but at the same time it takes away the sense of anticipation and tension.

McGregor uses a quite distant, almost reporting style to describe what's happening in the village, using a lot of passive sentences to put the reader in a kind of voyeur position, almost intruding in the intimacy of other people's lives. It's clearly not their story. They are observed, analysed, described. But despite all the good writing, and the interesting approach, there is no interest in what's happening at all. At least not for me. I was never drawn into the story, which is a quite essential thing for a novel.

Nice try. Next time better.

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