Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and a winner of the Costa Novel Award, both in 2017, Reservoir 13 (now in paperback) numbered among many Book of the Year lists.

They gathered at the car park in the hour before dawn and waited to be told what to do... There were questions that weren't being asked. In the dead of winter, in a rural English village, a young teenage girl goes missing. She isn't from there, she's visiting with her parents for the new year. A search is organised which everyone joins.

From the start, you're pulled right in. Locals tramp over frozen ground, police set up roadblocks, the moors are searched, divers go into the reservoirs. Nothing. There is an expectation that this book is a thriller. A missing girl - what could be more frightening? However her disappearance doesn't form the nerve centre of the story. We hardly know anything about her. We only meet her through others and their knowledge of her is scant enough. Her name was Rebecca, or Becky or Bex, we are reminded. She hovers at the edge of the book, fades almost into the background. Her disappearance is recalled as the old year rolls into the new. There are rumours that she has been spotted here and there.

As it does, even in extraordinary circumstances, life continues, people go on. We're drawn into the rhythms of daily living. As seasons change, there are births, marriages, deaths. Children grow up and leave, people who left come back. The push and pull of ordinary life.

Over 13 years - 13 springs, summers, autumns, winters - the soil, the plants, the animals, do what they're supposed to, reassuringly following ancient patterns of behavior.

The author has a poetic touch when it comes to describing the seasons. At the allotments, the Brussels sprouts stood tall, their leaves wilted and holed and the sprouts knuckled tight against the frost. Or, here he is on Spring, with a line that many a poet would be proud of: The clocks went forward and the evenings opened up and the days stood a little straighter on their feet.

Jon McGregor doesn't waste a word, his writing is beautiful and graceful. He shows his characters respect, they are satisfyingly well-written, without any spare fat on them. The manner in which he writes about the natural world and the people in it is wonderful. A goldcrest moved through the tall firs, at the far end of the playground, picking quickly at the insects feeding between the needles. From the hills behind the allotments a thick band of rain was moving in. The reservoirs were a flat metallic grey. There was carol singing in the church with candles and children from the school playing their recorders and opening their mouths wide to sing. 'Be near me, Lord Jesus'. The church was full.  'I ask thee to stay'.

Reservoir 13 is a fine book. It takes its time to explore the ordinariness of life, the ebbs and flows, the unimaginable and the banal. You are reminded that the more things change, the more they stay the same.