The Reservoir Tapes (Hardcover)

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August 2018 Indie Next List

The Reservoir Tapes chronicles the disappearance of a young girl in a small English village, with each chapter written from the perspective of a different resident. It’s not an easy writing feat, but Jon McGregor is able to instill a unique narrative clarity for every single character, weaving the young girl’s disappearance with the distinctive stories of each villager. More than a missing persons story, The Reservoir Tapes is about the very universal and human struggle to find meaning and the sacrifices we have to make to feel safe, loved, and truly at home. If you haven’t read anything by Jon McGregor before, make sure not to miss his latest novel!”
— Morgan McComb, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS


"A companion piece to his Man Booker-longlisted Reservoir 13, McGregor's latest works perfectly well as a standalone, offering an alternately sweet and suspenseful depiction of a community as it reacts, person by person, to the disappearance of a teenage girl." --Entertainment Weekly

A teenage girl has gone missing. The whole community has been called upon to join the search. And now an interviewer arrives, intent on capturing the community's unstable stories about life in the weeks and months before Becky Shaw vanished.

Each villager has a memory to share or a secret to conceal, a connection to Becky that they are trying to make or break. A young wife pushes against the boundaries of her marriage, and another seeks a means of surviving within hers. A group of teenagers dare one another to jump into a flooded quarry, the weakest swimmer still awaiting his turn. A laborer lies trapped under rocks and dry limestone dust as his fellow workers attempt a risky rescue. And meanwhile a fractured portrait of Becky emerges at the edges of our vision--a girl swimming, climbing, and smearing dirt onto a scared boy's face, images to be cherished and challenged as the search for her goes on.

About the Author

Jon McGregor is the author of four novels and two story collections. He is the winner of the International Dublin Literary Award, the Costa Novel Award, the Betty Trask Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters E. M. Forster Award, and has been long-listed three times for the Man Booker Prize, most recently in 2017 for Reservoir 13. He is professor of creative writing at the University of Nottingham, England, where he edits The Letters Page, a literary journal in letters.

Praise For…

Praise for The Reservoir Tapes

"On its own, this book is a noteworthy event. When put in conversation with Reservoir 13, it is nothing short of a remarkable experiment in storytelling. McGregor is a must-read writer." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Praise for Jon McGregor

“A fiercely intelligent writer. . . . Astonishing.” —George Saunders

“A writer who will make a significant stamp on world literature. In fact, he already has.” —Colum McCann

“A terrifyingly ingenious writer.” —Yiyun Li

“Jon McGregor writes with frightening intelligence and impeccable technique. Every page is a revelation.” —Teju Cole

“If you don’t yet know you should read books by Jon McGregor, then I can’t help you.” —Evie Wyld

“He’s an extraordinary writer, unlike anyone else.” —Paula Hawkins

“He leaves behind all other writers of his generation.” —Sarah Hall

“McGregor is a writer with extraordinary control. . . . Enthralling and brilliant.” —Tessa Hadley


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

"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

“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.” ―Oprah.com, 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)

Product Details
ISBN: 9781936787913
ISBN-10: 1936787911
Publisher: Catapult
Publication Date: August 7th, 2018
Pages: 176
Language: English