A former Wall Street veteran, quarantined by the coronavirus, becomes consumed with madness—or the fulfillment of his own mythic fate.
“A lonely ex-financier stuck in his apartment during the Covid-19 pandemic becomes obsessed with the Central Park Reservoir and slowly goes mad.” —New York Times Book Review
“[Duchovny’s] novella The Reservoir, set in New York City, probes how pandemic isolation has changed us.” —Boston Globe
The Reservoir follows an unexceptional man in an exceptional time. We see our present-day pandemic world and New York City through the eyes of a former Wall Street veteran, Ridley, as he looks back upon his life in his enforced quarantine solitude, wondering what it all means and who he really is.
Sitting and brooding night after night, gazing out his huge picture window high above the Central Park Reservoir, Ridley spots a flashing light in an apartment across the park as if a lonely quarantined person is signaling him in Morse code. His determination to find out who this mystery woman is leads him on an epic quest that will ultimately tempt him with either delusional madness or the fulfillment of his own mythic fate.
Is he a dying man going mad or an everyman metamorphosing into a hero? Or both? We accompany Ridley as he leaves the safety of his apartment window to save the Fifth Avenue femme fatale and descends into a dangerous, increasingly surreal world of global conspiracies, madness, and sickness of this viral time. As Ridley’s actions grow more and more uncharacteristic, he realizes the key to all the mysteries of now, and even all of history, seem to lie deep beneath the freezing waters of the reservoir.
The Reservoir is a twisted rom-com for our distanced time, when the merest touch could kill and conspiracy theories propagate like viruses—a contemporary union of Death in Venice, Rear Window, and The Plague.
Praise for The Reservoir
Comically absurd, funny, and very dark.
— New York Journal of Books
A new, pandemic-inspired, Rear Window-esque thriller, The Reservoir.
— Village Voice
Evocative, chilly prose that wouldn’t be out of place in a late Don DeLillo novel. Like his previous novels Bucky F*cking Dent and Miss Subways, it’s a love letter to Duchovny’s native New York. But it’s also a smart story about obsession. A slim, compelling tale of a man on the brink.
— Kirkus Reviews
This intelligent effort further burnishes Duchovny’s status as a gifted novelist.
— Publishers Weekly
This beautiful fever dream of a novella put me in mind of Gabriel García Márquez because of its sense of romance—and humor—in the midst of calamity. I’ll never look at Central Park the same way.
— Amanda Peet