Reservoir 13 (McGregor) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
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 - Washington Post


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


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)


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.
Sunday Times (UK)


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



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 (UK)


McGregor's book achieves a visionary power.… [H]e 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 unraveling of what we think of as the conventional project of the novel.
James Wood - The New Yorker


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 (UK)


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


(Starred review.) [U]nforgettable.… McGregor portrays individuals and the community as a whole, across seasons, in mundane scenes and moments of heartbreak, cruelty, and guilt.… This is an ambitious tour de force … a singular and haunting story.
Publishers Weekly


(Starred review.)  [E]xtraordinary, and while the narrative technique is initially wearing in the way village life can be—the monotony, the knowledge of everybody's business—it coheres remarkably into a knowable, comforting, ultimately compelling world.  —Reba Leiding, emeritus, James Madison Univ. Lib., Harrisonburg, VA
Library Journal


(Starred review.) McGregor masterfully employs a free, indirect style that… seamlessly blends narrative, dialogue, and wonderfully observant, poetic musings.… [The] novel’s subtly devastating impact … imparts wisdom about the tenuous and priceless gift of life.
Booklist


(Starred review.) In simple, quiet, and deliberate prose, McGregor describes the passing months. The seasons change…. "It went on like this. This was how it went on."… A stunningly good, understated novel told in a mesmerizing voice (A best book of the year).
Kirkus Reviews

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