MAY'S BIBLIOMANIA IS FOR
RESERVOIR 13 by JON MCGREGOR
published by Forth Estate April 6th 2017
What is it about?
From the award-winning author of If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things and Even the Dogs, Reservoir 13 tells the story of many lives haunted by one family's loss.
Midwinter in the early years of this century. A teenage girl on holiday has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England. The villagers are called up to join the search, fanning out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on their usually quiet home.
Meanwhile, there is work that must still be done: cows milked, fences repaired, stone cut, pints poured, beds made, sermons written, a pantomime rehearsed.
The search for the missing girl goes on, but so does everyday life. As it must.
As the seasons unfold there are those who leave the village and those who are pulled back; those who come together or break apart. There are births and deaths; secrets kept and exposed; livelihoods made and lost; small kindnesses and unanticipated betrayals.
Bats hang in the eaves of the church and herons stand sentry in the river; fieldfares flock in the hawthorn trees and badgers and foxes prowl deep in the woods – mating and fighting, hunting and dying.
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 stranger’s tragedy refuse to subside.
To read my full review click here
Thirteen questions about Reservoir 13:
McGregor uses a lot of repetition in this book. Find some examples that you found particularly effective and explain why these sentences or images appealed to you.
There is quite a large cast of characters in this novel. Which were your favourite? Why?
Why do you think McGregor chose the reservoirs as his setting for this novel? How does he evoke such a strong sense of place in this novel?
Fireworks and New Year celebrations feature a lot in this book. What else are they used to symbolise in this novel?
McGregor often writes in long sentences and long paragraphs. How did this affect your reading and enjoyment on the novel? Why do you think he writes in this style? What does it add to the novel?
How did you find the pace of the novel?
What issues is McGregor exploring in this novel? What observations is he making about families. communities and tragedy?
What did you think of the way the police are portrayed in this novel?
Is the mystery of the missing girl the main story in this novel? Was the resolution of this police investigation why you kept reading?
Which three words would you use to sum up this book?
What did you like or dislike about McGregor's prose style? Is this the first book of his you've read? Would you read another?
Did the novel answer all your questions about the missing girl and the villagers or did you have any more questions still waiting to be answered? What questions did you have during reading and were the answers satisfying?
How important is nature and the natural world in this novel?
What props might you use to start a conversation about Reservoir 13?
- a map
- a torch
- a local newspaper
- a white hoodie
- an invitation to a New Year's Eve party
- a dreamcatcher
What might you serve?
- hot chocolate
- hot dogs
Where might you hold your meeting?
- a reservoir
- a country walk
- a village hall
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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 13 is published in April 2017.
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