Ben De Bruyn

Published On


Page Range

pp. 261–298


  • English

10. The Everyday Pluriverse

Ecosystem Modelling in Reservoir 13

This chapter examines Jon McGregor’s prize-winning novel Reservoir 13 against the background of debates on biodiversity loss and multiscalar fiction, paying special attention to its evocation of a particular rural mesocosm. After reviewing the text’s idiosyncratic participation in the traditions of rural and crime fiction, the analysis explains how the novel redirects the reader’s attention from human to environmental concerns and evokes a multiperspectival and more-than-human pluriverse. What is more, it clarifies that the
narrative’s rendering of polyrhythmic multispecies assemblages can be characterised as a textual form of ecosystem modelling – and that the novel is accordingly related to examples of nonhuman photography and animal-tracking visualisations that are indebted to population and movement ecology. In monitoring the overlapping lives of numerous human and nonhuman characters, Reservoir 13 ultimately offers a literary version of mindfulness exercises and citizen science projects, and responds to pressing concerns over habitat loss and ecological calamity by promoting quietly persistent endurance. As its animal subplots and modelling experiments suggest, even readers who are intrigued by nonhuman scale should not lose sight of everyday life, its multiple worlds, and more-than-human rhythms.