This is an interesting one.
“The Reservoir Tapes” is almost a ‘prequel’ to Jon McGregor’s “Reservoir 13”, and actually made its debut on BBC Radio 4. And you can see why. It’s made up of a series of monologues that would be perfect for radio.
Or, come to think of it, maybe it’s a sequel…
In any event, it is very clearly a companion piece to “Reservoir 13”, and provides some context and perspective – a little bit like picking lenses from an optician’s case and looking through them individually at a single object; you keep seeing it in slightly different shapes and degrees of focus. Or like walking through a hall of mirrors, perhaps.
I won’t say whether or not “The Reservoir Tapes” helps solve the conundrum of “Reservoir 13” (though if you’ve read the latter you’ll probably be able to guess the answer), but it does pose a conundrum of its own. If you were to read both, which should you read first?
Oddly, I think you’d start with “Reservoir 13” because that helps ‘explain’ the “Tapes”. Read them the other way round (and you could) and I suspect you’d wonder what the hell was going on and might never pick up “13”.
But then I can never know can I, seeing as how I’ve now read them both in the order I did..!
Worth a read. And you could skip through “Tapes” in a single sitting if you wanted to.