A family goes on a walk. A girl goes missing. No one knows where she’s gone to. That would have been the central plot of many other novels. A flawed detective would show up and we would follow his/her attempts to find the girl. The stories of the community might be hinted at. But, these stories would simply be shadows serving the main plot. .
However, in Reservoir 13 these shadows constitute the main plot. McGregor traces those lives that circle the crime. Spanning a period of thirteen years, the story follows the lives of those people living in the small village where the family was staying at the time of the girl’s disappearance. We see the community coming to terms with the tragic events that occurred within their village and continuing on with their lives.
This story is a web of narratives which form a weave, a tapestry of threads, traveling through one another. The stories of; place, people and animals coming together to form a fully drawn landscape
I really love this inventive novel and I am really disappointed that it didn’t make the short list.
Queering Sexual Violence
Published by Riverdale books
Publication date 22nd April
Source; Publisher Via Netgalley
Edited Jennifer Patterson
Queering sexual violence is a collection of essays, written by members of the LGBT+ (queer) community, that seek to challenge current ideas of; sexual identity, sex, sexual violence, and the current structure of society. Each essay, in its own unique way, speaks of the ways that certain individuals are excluded from both; the mechanisms in place to help survivors of sexual abuse, and the theoretical framework that support these organisations. They speak, poignantly, of; their experiences of violence, the effects of that violence on their lives, their attempts to seek help, the battles to have their pain acknowledged, and the ways that they have found their own unique path to healing.
The writers challenge the way in which we see certain issues and the ways that these issues interact; uncoupling some concepts while highlighting the connection between others. Those who survived sexual abuse firmly state that, while their experiences have shaped their life and sexual choices, they choice of sexuality cannot be wholly explained by their childhood experience of violence. Other writers seek to force the readers to see connections between violence to the individual body and the violence that we inflict on, both; the wider society and the planet that we all share.
This work is a valuable addition to both; the activism and theory surrounding sexual violence, queering, and extending their scope to include more stories and more ways of seeing the world. Moreover, while being an academic work, the general reader would have no difficulty understanding, and being moved by this work.
4321 by Paul Auster (US) (Faber & Faber)
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (US) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (UK-Pakistan) (Hamish Hamilton)
Elmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) (JM Originals)
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US) (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Autumn by Ali Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton)
I am really disappointed that neither solar bones or Reservoir 13 made the list. I cannot understand why history of Wolves is on the list. In addition, while I can understand why Autumn is there, I wish that it weren’t. What do you think?