Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

Jon McGregor is an audacious writer. In an age where narrative in the most popular works of art often proceeds at a breakneck speed, he has chosen to defy this. Reservoir 13 (2017) is his first novel for thirteen years and like his debut novel, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (2002), it was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Reservoir 13 also won the Costa Novel Award for 2017. It managed this feat in spite of his use of the passive voice and the utter absence of dialogue in the novel.

Reservoir 13 begins with an apparent hook: a thirteen-year-old girl has gone missing in an unnamed Derbyshire village. 


Don't judge a book by (the awards on) its cover

Anyone looking to the Booker Prize this year to affirm that dreams can come true would have seized on the example of Fiona Mozley, the 29 year bookseller who wrote the first chapter of her longlisted novel on a train. Her story seemed impossibly romantic: an unknown debut novelist, who wrote her book virtually in secret, was recognised alongside Paul Auster and Zadie Smith by one of the most famous literary prizes in the world. But while Mozley rather touchingly has said ‘I already feel like I’ve won,’ what about those writers who are always the bridesmaid but never the bride when it comes to literary prizes?