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."
—The Boston Globe
"A new, pandemic-inspired, Rear Window–esque thriller."
“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.”
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.
Additional praise for The Reservoir:
“Bump [The Reservoir] to the top of your summer reading list immediately.”
"Comically absurd, funny, and very dark."
—New York Journal of Books
"David Duchovny writes like Bob Dylan, but in prose. There’s irony, poetry, there’s social commentary. There’s a brooding outrage. And there’s romance, too. The complex, multilayered novella, The Reservoir . . . is an easy-to-read, hard-to-forget page-turner."
—The Pavlovic Today
"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."
“This swift and unnerving fever-dream of a novella, Duchovny's fifth work of fiction, is saturated with mythic and literary allusions and shaped by resonant riffs on Poe and Mann. At once philosophical and suspenseful, grandly imaginative and sharply funny, this mind-bending story of delusion and longing is a dark reflection of New York’s countless crimes and tragedies and much-tested resilience, emblematic of the suffering and tenacity of all of humanity.”
“This intelligent effort further burnishes Duchovny’s status as a gifted novelist.”
“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.”
“A heartbreaking story of the cloaked complexities of father-daughter love framed as a sort of virtuoso suicide note. In its depiction of the breakthrough longings that come with growing older, it also struck me, wonderfully, as a contemporary Death in Venice.”
—Walter Kirn, author of Blood Will Out
“Biting and funny, The Reservoir is also deep and reflective. A mystery wrapped in a fever dream. A tale for our infectious times.”
—Chris Carter, director/writer, creator of The X-Files
“Equal parts Rear Window and The Plague, David Duchovny’s new novella is a wildly imaginative morality tale for these confounding times. With the Central Park Reservoir as his canvas, Duchovny paints a protagonist as quixotic as he is unreliable (or is he?). I had no idea where this story was headed, but I was down for the ride on every page.”
—T Cooper, author of Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes
Praise for previous works by David Duchovny:
"[David Duchovny's] most complex novel is also the best of the batch, and makes a solid case for him as a real-deal novelist. It's a provocative, entertaining book that, much like [Tom] Wolfe did, exposes our collective foibles and makes everybody look a little cartoonish. But it persuades you that we deserve the caricature he's made of us." —Washington Post, on Truly Like Lightning