Getting to the train station early is a cunning plan. Because it allows a little browsing time in the WH Smith bookshop. So for my trip to Portsmouth I resisted the gaudy sellers and opted for an old book club favourite – Jon McGregor. His book “If no one speaks of remarkable things” was a lovely read; the sort of super observant prose that I would really love to have the skill to compose. Understated, a little bit like building a layered cake of details. So this is “Reservoir 13” Ostensibly it’s about the disappearance of a young girl from a rural village. I won’t plot spoil, but he kept me guessing and reading all the way through.
His style is to build up a picture through repetitive rhythms and observations of nature – the round of the seasons, the plant and animal world – but also the growth, slowing and change in the human lives. Someone described it as cold and forensic – I can see what they mean, but the little pictures of people and village life burn themselves into your mind. It’s both a frustrating (you need to read it to find out quite why it is so annoying!) and satisfying read.
It is the antidote to fast paced thrillers – which I love. And yet it seems highly addictive. I needed to wade through, noting the repetition of detailing which builds each picture – and the variations within that picture. Which makes you page turn back to where you remember it occuring before to see what has changed. I need to read it again.