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 re-considered 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.
The Reservoir Tapes by Jon McGregor ($22.00*, Catapult), recommended by Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA.