How much should you let in, and how much should you give away?
Feverish and forthright, Pond is an absorbing chronicle of the pitfalls and pleasures of a solitudinous life told by an unnamed woman living on the cusp of a coastal town. Broken bowls, belligerent cows, swanky aubergines, trembling moonrises and horrifying sunsets, the physical world depicted in these stories is unsettling yet intimately familiar and soon takes on a life of its own. Captivated by the stellar charms of seclusion but restless with desire, the woman’s relationship with her surroundings becomes boundless and increasingly bewildering. Claire-Louise Bennett’s startlingly original first collection slips effortlessly between worlds and is by turns darkly funny and deeply moving.
A Work of Fiction That Will Make You Feel Pleasantly Insane—Jia Tolentino in the New Yorker
“I’d heard more good whispers about ‘Pond’ by Claire-Louise Bennett than almost any other debut this year so, by the time I read it, expectations were high and – as it turned out – not disappointed. These stories are intelligent and funny, innovative and provocative, and it’s impossible to read them without thinking that here is a writer who has only just begun to show what she can do.”—Eimear McBride, TLS Books of the Year
“Claire-Louise Bennett sets the conventions of literary fiction ablaze in this ferociously intelligent and funny debut. Don’t be fooled by Pond’s small size. It contains multitudes.” —Jenny Offill
“[An] auspicious debut … Bennett seems to know exactly what to take seriously. She puts us inside a complicated, teeming mind, and she doesn’t dabble in forced epiphanies. Ms. Bennett’s sensibility here feels like the tip of a deep iceberg, and I’ll be in line to read whatever she publishes next. Her witty misanthropy is here to ward off mental scurvy.”—The New York Times
“Dazzling…[an] exquisitely written and daring debut work of fiction…Pond’s lovely strangeness lies in just how intimate we feel with our heroine despite knowing so little about her. By eschewing exposition, Bennett’s novel demonstrates the elucidating power of simply recording a consciousness at work, a state of being – a ‘mind in motion.’”–O, the Oprah Magazine