Pond 1

by Claire-Louise Bennett

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 22/12/2016

5/5 Rating 1 Reviews Add your review
RRP  $24.99 $20.95

A sharp, funny and eccentric debut by one of Britain's most talented new voices.

Bennett's debut is a slim volume that eschews traditional narrative conventions. It may be read as 20 mostly interlinked stories or as a novella fractured into twenty parts. It is narrated by a nameless woman living in a small cottage in rural Ireland. Its sections vary in length, with some as short as a few sentences, and each offers the reader insight into the quiet domestic existence of Bennett's narrator.

Instead of relating a straightforward narrative she progresses via digression: celebrating the arrangement of fruits and vegetables in bowls on the window-sill, lamenting the broken knobs on her kitchen's mini-stove, pondering the deeper meaning of a novel about the last woman on Earth, recalling past sexual misadventures and experiments in gardening plots.

The reader inhabits the narrator's consciousness, gradually creating a picture of a young woman of uncommon intelligence who has left the world of jobs and adult responsibility in the hope of recovering some more enchanting relation of self to world. The result is a series of tableaus - funny, acute, melancholy, misanthropic - whose charm and beauty lays in their oblique angle of approach.

Contemporary fiction
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
Pan Macmillan Australia
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • Wow.

    by on

    I'm now obsessed with this book. Having closed on the last page my first and only wish is to go back to the first and live the whole experience over again.

    Pond is a kind of novella told in fragments by an unnamed narrator holed up in a thatched roof cottage on the west coast of Ireland. She's most frequently reporting directly to the reader about the curious struggles of her interior world. And there's a surprising amount to be reported.

    Aside from its fascinating use of language and an off-kilter pseudo-conversational style that constantly catches you off-guard, Pond offers a glimpse into the lives of those who choose to live alone. It illuminates what happens when our thoughts stop focusing on the people around us and become wound up in the objects of domestic life. The loss of control knobs for an electric oven becomes an enormous journey for this woman and you'll need to strap yourself in for it.

    Impeccably crafted, often quite romantic and very funny throughout, Pond will be on my mind for a long long time to come.