Friday 4 October 2019

It's not about the mystery

Reservoir 13 What happened to Rebecca Shaw? At the opening of Reservoir 13, a group is waiting to set out in search of the missing teenage girl, and we're led to believe this is a mystery story.

It's divided into thirteen chapters, each of which covers a year in the life of the Derbyshire village and surrounding countryside from which Rebecca disappeared. Jon McGregor's writing style is concise yet evocative. The narrative spies on family life, describes annual traditions like Mischief Night and Well Dressing, and reflects the beauty and savagery of nature; foxes, birds and sheep.

Rebecca's disappearance does affect the villagers, but Reservoir 13 is not about the mystery. It's about the rhythms of life and death in a small community where it's impossible to escape gossip.

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