Pond 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 cow

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 lifeFeverish 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.

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  1. CLAIRE LOUISE BENNETT grew up in Wiltshire and studied literature and drama at the University of Roehampton, before settling in Galway Her short fiction and essays have been published in THE STINGING FLY, THE PENNY DREADFUL, THE MOTH, COLONY, THE IRISH TIMES, THE WHITE REVIEW and GORSE She was awarded the inaugural White Review Short Story Prize in 2013 and has received bursaries from the Arts Council and Galway City Council Morning, Noon Night is taken from her first collection of stories, POND, which will be published by The Stinging Fly Press in Dublin next month April 2015 from thewhitereview fiction

791 Reply to “Pond”

  1. An odd thing happened as I was reading Claire Louise Bennett s book, a paper and ink book, it is relevant to mention, because as I read, it was as if the words were appearing on a screen, each one being completed just slightly in advance of my eager eye in fact exactly as is happening now while I m typing , the thoughts rolling out, the punctuation slotting into place just where I expected it, the words and phrases meantime building on each other in a way that seemed completely coherent to me in [...]

  2. What a fascinating story collection novel, and honestly I m not sure which it is If you read between the lines, you can put together a narrative of sorts The character seems to be working things out for herself, possibly some past trauma, through these short musing and ramblings about everything and nothing all around her It s a unique window into rural life in an Irish village It works just fine as a story collection as well I think it s probably all in how you approach it.I try to judge books [...]

  3. Some have referred to Pond as a collection of short stories, I would say they re loosely connected rambling thoughts, musings by the narrator, a woman in Ireland who lives alone in a cottage.The writing is lovely If there is any focus at all, it is the daily ordinariness of life, with a tongue in cheek sense of humour, softened It s all said with a nod to the joy of the everyday moments, the reflections on her walks about, the setting, her written ramblings as you follow her on her rambles about [...]

  4. I wish I had kept track of why I decided I had to read this book RIGHT AWAY to the extent that I requested it from interlibrary loan, and it had to come all the way from Notre Dame, one of the few American universities to have it because it isn t actually out in the USA until next month Tell me if you told me to read this The right person to read this book would be someone who has the patience to read Eimear McBride, Nicholson Baker the post modern fiction version not the cranky non fiction guy [...]

  5. An intriguing and poetic collection, that sits somewhere between short stories and stream of consciousness There is a loose narrative thread, in that all of the stories describe the thoughts of a woman living alone in a rented cottage on the west coast of Ireland The pieces vary in length from a few lines to 20 pages Bennett has a talent for making poetic observations about some very quotidian subject matter, and creating a slightly unsettling atmosphere I am struggling to describe why this work [...]

  6. Have you ever been out to dinner with someone who babbles incessantly about nothing in particular, so much so that you feel you mightn t have any means of relief save gnawing your own leg off to escape Reading this collection recalled that sensation for me.

  7. Pretty much perfect, and well deserving of the growing hype Certainly one of the best things I have read this year This is the first section of the book note the Rhys reference in its title Voyage in the Dark First of all, it seemed to us that you were very handsome And the principal windows of your house were perfectly positioned to display a blazing reflection at sunset One evening while walking back from the fields this effect was so dramatic we thought your rooms were burning We liked nothin [...]

  8. msarki.tumblr post 1392879Even before I was finished, actually having than just a few pages remaining of the second to last piece, and still waiting for me a two page story to read before I could completely say I was finished with this book, I already decided I was going to start right back in and read it all again It is the rare book that challenges me so I can only recall Robert Walser s The Robber having a similar affect on me, but that was because I failed to understand his work enough, eve [...]

  9. The observations of a privileged academic yet apparently unemployed hermit who at most takes trips to the supermarket and has some friends over but mostly PONDers fruit, her oven, pens, all under the shadow of some unstated sorrow maybe not fair to consider it along the lines of a conventional novel or story collection since this intends to do nothing, really It s anti ecstatic writing Updike said Nabokov wrote prose the way it should be written ecstatically but this seems to try to undermine th [...]

  10. That above is not the cover therefore the edition I read The physical presence of the book as described below was a part of the overall experience I know it is listed and shown under Bennett s, Pond Now I just have to figure out how to put this review under that edition with that cover without injuring myself.This book will most likely be the best book which doesn t appear to be a best book I will read this year Focusing on the small acts, the surface contributions of a life, it is much like a c [...]

  11. I still have 40 pages to go, but I just can t do it I m done There are some great and funny insights every once in a while, but not enough to keep me reading No rating DNF

  12. This is not a book to read in line at the bank, amidst the trilling thumps of construction, beside the jarring voice of a teenage conversation.Enter this book like you would enter a church You don t need to believe in anything but sanctity itself Give these words the silent envelope they are due.How would I adjust to simply living for a time I like to think I would find pleasure, or solace, in simple domesticities like the narrator of Pond But the fact of the matter is, I am remarkably good at d [...]

  13. Like being in a beautiful place with a neurotic who won t stop talking This book has gotten nearly universally wonderful reviews by people I greatly admire, so I guess it s just me, but I couldn t wait for it to be over.

  14. Reposting as this perhaps my favourite novel of 2016 reminded me in a way of my novel of 2017, Reservoir 13 In particular the author s comment, when talking about Pond, that Human beings and the stunts they pull were a minor constituent of my world view There were hundreds of thousands of phenomena far fascinating I would be disgusted to the point of taking immediate vengeance if I was brought to a purportedly magical place one afternoon in late September and therefore belted down to the pond, [...]

  15. this is a mesmerizing debut it s a book filled with poetic yet somehow edgy language, and full of words words you don t encounter often, very specific words, and, at some point, unspooled words, as if the narrator were so taken by her words that she starts to use them randomly, or maybe following some inner association, or possibly drawn by the compelling combination of the sounds they make what i mean to say is that, toward the end, some of the writing becomes decisively surrealistic, and some [...]

  16. Holy Smokes what a book to review At least I don t have to worry about rehashing a plot as well I think I d need to actually smoke some hash to find one What we have here is an Englishwoman in a rural Irish cottage She mentions having been a doctoral candidate at one point, so the big words she throws around aren t inappropriate for her The big words she throws around while describing her very limited life Describing her limited life takes up as much of her daily exertion as actually living it [...]

  17. I loved this book It s so quirky I had big laughs, lots of chuckles and some sniffles It s very stream of consciousness about the life of an odd woman living mostly in seclusion, trying her hand at gardening and neighborliness and not doing either very well In ways it reminded me of a prose poem with chapters Very well done Probably not everyone s cup of tea, though it is served with many savory thoughts It is an exquisite little book Thanks Riverhead Books for the opportunity to read this gem.

  18. I tried to like it, but not hard enough I heard it was wonderful, brilliant, captivating I found it self indulgent, mundane, and trivial In an interview, Bennett claims she is not interested in creating literature but in writing about life Yeah Perhaps this is a pretty rich white girl s idea of wisdom or life or the way things really are Perhaps she isn t pretty or rich, perhaps I should admire what she does well It s just that most of us really do sometimes have deeper concerns than exactly how [...]

  19. Borderline brilliant, but the book will depend on how long you can withstand living in the head of another person with no way out And with rhythms that never change, whether the sentences are shortened or lengthened This kind of writing is, once again, poetry trying to be snuck in through the back doors of prose We all know why poets try and do this there is cachet in fiction As for readers though, I am worn out on writing that does no than find truth in perception and language I am at a point [...]

  20. This is a unique book basically consisting of a series of meditations by a woman who is living a fairly solitary life She s mostly alone but does have contact with some friends and even throws a party Her musings are sometimes humorous and sometimes sad Some of the chapters are very short, only a few sentences as she not only describes her days but thinks back on her past.For those of you looking for a good plot, this wouldn t be the book for you To give you an idea, the first chapter is about w [...]

  21. English, strictly speaking, is not my first language by the way I haven t yet discovered what my first language is so for the time being I use English words in order to say things I expect I will always have to do it that way regrettably I don t think my first language can be written down at all I m not sure it can be made external you see I think it has to stay where it is simmering in the elastic gloom betwixt my flickering organs Pond is one of the most interesting books I ve read this year I [...]

  22. I m at a loss to compose a review that really captures what I felt thought about this novel All I can say is that this was sort of unsettling and ambiguous, with lengthy natural descriptions by a narrator who seemed a little unhinged and or deeply sad There is a tone of loss and unspoken tragedy in her narrator s musings she seems to be talking around the tragedy, if that is what it is, by discussing cooking and gardening, sex, quotidian life It s quite mesmerizing.Also the unnamed novel the nar [...]

  23. Oh, PondI was initially struck, yes, by the beautiful cover, but then I read the given praise and decided to get it I had high hopes for Claire Louise Bennett s debut publication, but, unfortunately, it largely didn t work for me.There really isn t much of a plot rather, it s just selections of musings from a generally lonely, young academic renting a cottage in the Irish countryside Bennett s writing is gloriously overdone She circles back and forth, around and around, on nothing in particular [...]

  24. But then, as I have mentioned already, I am often alone and when I am alone it really is difficult for me to gauge distance, and so perhaps for that reason, I haven t acquired a particularly distinct sense of the past.Well that was an odd duck Good but odd At times it reminded me of a collection of essays or a stream of consciousness thrown down on the page I bring up the stream reference because there were times when I struggled with some passages and had to go back and reread a section Funny t [...]

  25. Claire Louise Bennett is deciding something in her head The process is like alchemy, involving mysterious vapors And maybe frogs that sound like vaginas She is uncompromising about how internal the process is, yet adamant about how transparent she wants to be with you, the external element As if you were the only one in the room, and not a world of readers in your head as well What does she want from you Her thinking and thus writing practice for they become one and the same is not unique You se [...]

  26. First person point of view can be charming, indeed We read such books and feel as though the narrator has chosen us specifically to confide in We are privy to the narrator s secrets We are honored to keep them secret in the name of empathy.First person point of view can be a prison, too Imagine being trapped in the mind of someone who drives you crazy, whose observations are of little interest to you, whose voice is self consciously quirky because the author strings visible is pulling said chara [...]

  27. Yes, the right edition and the right cover Though hard to see here it did make a difference See below.This book will most likely be the best book which doesn t appear to be a best book I will read this year Focusing on the small acts, the surface contributions of a life, it is much like a conversation had with a next door neighbor over the backyard fence It is only part way into the talk that it is realized the neighbor is speaking a different language Not a foreign tongue but that the simple pa [...]

  28. This book is like that friend of a friend who takes a hot glue gun to a series of purses or shoes, adding glitter and feathers and craft store beads, pretending that she s an artist or a designer or some kind of creative spirit, while her friends and acquaintances buy the accessories out of guilt and quietly let it be thought that this desperate flailing is somehow the same as a proper career Everyone says how original this book is, how new the type of writing, but I see it as the natural, indee [...]

  29. I think of a plate, a very nice plate, perhaps made of bone china It appears quite delicate, but it s robust than it looks It s certainly not an everyday kind of plate, but rather one you might take out on special occasions Still you don t hide it away to gather dust either you might keep it on display on an old wooden dresser, or maybe behind glass on a cupboard shelf You like to see it even when you don t use it It reminds you that there are special things in this life It s the kind of plate [...]

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