The Reservoir

Akashic. Jun. 2022. 128p. ISBN 9781636140445. $19.95. F
Duchovny has worn many hats—actor, director, songwriter—but writing was always his first love. This is his first novella, following four successful novels (including last year’s Truly Like Lightning). Unremarkable Wall Street trader Ridley took a buyout in 2009, and 11 years later finds himself in isolation during the worst of the COVID pandemic. From his high-rise apartment overlooking New York’s Central Park reservoir, he has plenty of time to reflect on his failed marriage and his troubled relationship with his daughter. As a distraction, he takes nighttime photos of the apartment building across the park. When he sees a series of flashing lights, he has a Rear Window moment, becoming obsessed with the idea that a woman is sending out distress signals, so he responds with his own flashing lights. When he gets no reply, his obsession takes him outside for the first time in months to follow the woman when she exits her building. These forays take Ridley deep into the Ramble, a perilous part of the park known after dark for anonymous hookups among gay people. As Ridley engages in ever more dangerous behavior, the distinction between fevered hallucinations and suicidal risk-taking becomes blurred.
VERDICT Inspired by Duchovny’s self-reflection while sequestered in his own aerie above Central Park at the height of the pandemic, this work is provocative, challenging, and not without its moments of dark humor.
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