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The Reservoir Tapes

141 pages1 hour


Following the success of his novel Reservoir 13 (an ABA Indie Next List Pick, Amazon Best Book of the Year, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and the recipient of rave reviews by critics like James Wood in The New Yorker), The Reservoir Tapes returns to the novel's setting in an English village where a teenage girl disappears, and to the characters whose lives are forever altered by the tragedy

These stories will satisfy McGregor fans' appetites to dive deeper into the mystery and characters surrounding Becky's disappearance, while also standing alone for readers new to McGregor's work

Originally written, adapted and recorded for BBC Radio, the linked collection reads like a fast-paced episode of a true crime podcast or a season of the television drama Broadchurch; the stories in The Reservoir Tapes are quickly digestible, elegantly tension-filled, and a smart, subtle commentary on humanity's best and worst tendencies in the face of grief and loss

The characters McGregor gives voice to will surprise you; the different narrators are not necessarily central to Becky's disappearance, but their voices fascinate us and offer a portrait of a whole community

Like a season of the television drama Broadchurch, the structure and order of the stories in the collection touch upon questions of the limits of knowledge and memory, and how what we remember defines us and shapes the traumas we seek to forget

"Immersive, nuanced, and exquisitely strange, the interconnected stories within The Reservoir Tapes are a feat of genius. Jon McGregor offers us snippets of an array of lives within a small English town, which come to assemble the blast radius of the recent disappearance of a young teenager. The sheer range of voices within is stunning, as is the tone, which manages to be at once thoughtful, ominous, and humdrum. No event passes without being challenged, complicated, and reconsidered from angle upon angle, perspective upon perspective. I both gloried in the small details and tactile prose⎯a llama that wasn’t even a llama, the bike grease that refuses to be scrubbed from one’s hands⎯and furiously flipped pages. This brilliant book is haunted by the specter of normality, which creeps back into the lives of townspeople altered by tragedy."—Elizabeth Willis, Avid Bookshop (Athens, GA)

"Exquisite and brilliantly styled, Jon McGregor's The Reservoir Tapes is a dark and fascinating story told in such a way that I found myself reading with a furrowed brow page after page. Such an intense character and story development in so few disturbing words. Could not put this book down." —Mary O'Malley, Anderson's Bookshop (La Grange, IL)

"In a brilliant counterpoint to Reservoir 13, McGregor’s earlier work that detailed the evolution of the town and countryside following the disappearance of a young girl, the mystery is explored in a totally different way. Through interviews of a dozen or so villagers, all of whom had some connection to the missing girl, or a secret to hide or to share, McGregor creates a verbal mosaic representing the circumstances of the missing girl’s disappearance. Wonderful monologues lead the reader to the cusp of understanding the village, the villagers, and this inconvenience of a missing girl imposed on them by outsiders. What a clever writer!" —Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common (Ridgefield, CT)

"Jon McGregor returns to the world of his Man Booker–nominated Reservoir 13 with his companion piece The Reservoir Tapes. This new book takes the approach of a short story collection and ultimately succeeds on its own merits apart from its sister volume. Each story centers on a different villager sharing their story of village life and their relationship to Becky Shaw and her disappearance, however tangential. McGregor’s gifts for the written word and intimate character work shine throughout this collection, and his u

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