Like an anti-Thoreau, the narrator of Pond, a novel-in-stories lives alone in the Irish countryside, quietly and cheerfully coming a little undone. Sensitive and deeply attuned to the world around her, Bennett's book reads a little like Lydia Davis, a little like Beckett. A one point, the narrator says that English is not her first language, that she has not yet discovered her mother tongue, and by the time I finished Pond I felt exactly the same way - tongueless, disquieted, all anew.— Madeleine
“A brilliant and captivating debut, Bennett's Pond is a strange, beautifully layered work of fiction, from its quirky and contemplative narrator's interior life to the vivid and charming descriptions of rural Irish life. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this book is its warm invitation to celebrate solitude. Bennett writes as if in a lush, landscaped dream, each story chapter going forward, circling back, and ending in the middle of the protagonist's musings upon her everyday experiences. Pond is utterly original, by turns hilarious and poignant, a refreshing and simply delightful read.”
— Angela Spring (E), Politics & Prose Books and Coffee Shop, Washington, DC
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.