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Non 1001 Book Review: The Reservoir Tapes Jon McGregor


Happy Holidays to all our loyal readers! We hope everyone has had a lovely holiday season. As we approach 2018, Book Worm and I have lots of plans for the blog. In a few days we’ll be posting our top 10 books of 2017 and we’ll also be announcing a new schedule for Read Around the World for those who want to join us. Today, Book Worm will be reviewing a new book by Jon McGregor. Keep reading to find out what she thought.

The Reservoir Tapes by Jon McGregor
Published in: 2018
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: ★★★★
Find it here: The Reservoir Tapes

This ARC was provided by Harper Collins UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

But the aftershocks of Becky Shaw’s disappearance have origins long before then, and those in the village have losses, and secrets, and stories of their own…

A woman remembers a son’s inexperience – and a father’s rage; a young wife pushes against the boundaries of her marriage, whilst an older one finds ways to ensure the survival of hers. A hunt for a birthday present takes an alarming turn, and a teenage game grows serious.

Fresh hurts open old wounds, salvation comes from unexpected quarters and chance encounters release long-buried memories.

First broadcast as a series of specially-commissioned stories on BBC Radio 4, The Reservoir Tapes returns to the territory of the Booker-longlisted Reservoir 13, revealing the web of connections that bind us, and the many layers on which we all build our truths.

Book Worm’s Thoughts; Earlier in the year our panel reviewed Reservoir 13 as part of the Man Booker Longlist and most of us loved it. So I was really pleased when I heard there was another book, The Reservoir Tapes, a companion read to the original novel featuring several of the same characters at different points in their lives.

Like the original story, these short stories don’t actually reveal what happened to Becky instead they cover different days in the life of various residents of the village, some before, some during, and some after Becky’s disappearance. Each story is told from the point of view of a different character and each builds our understanding of life in the village and what goes on behind closed doors. There are tantalising hints that give the reader an idea of what “may” have happened, however these hints are varied and often conflicting leaving the reader once again to draw their own conclusions.

If you like everything tied up neatly at the end of the book this will probably drive you mad. I am normally driven mad when things don’t tie up but in this case  it works. There are several conclusions that can be drawn although it is likely the truth will never really be known. Yet, this narrative allows for all conclusions to be possible.

Who would like this? Anyone who enjoyed Reservoir 13 and is interested in the backstories of the minor characters.

Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: The Reservoir Tapes

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. jesshodg #

    Can’t wait for this! Reservoir 13 was my book of the year

    Liked by 1 person

    December 26, 2017
    • It was a great book! I’m also looking forward to reading this one.


      December 28, 2017
  2. I knew bed Reservoir 13. I think the stories in this new book might still be available as audio versions via the BBC podcast?

    Liked by 1 person

    December 27, 2017
    • Book Worm #

      These are the stories from the radio broadcast so I assume they will be available somewhere through the BBC


      December 28, 2017
      • I shall have to have a look – I remember seeing them on the BBC podcast stream


        December 29, 2017

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