Pond: Book summary and reviews of Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett

Pond

by Claire-Louise Bennett

Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett X
Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2016
    208 pages
    Genre: Short Stories/Essays

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Book Summary

"What Bennett aims at is nothing short of a re-enchantment of the world. ... This is a truly stunning debut, beautifully written and profoundly witty." – The Guardian

Immediately upon its publication in Ireland, Claire-Louise Bennett's debut began to attract attention well beyond the expectations of the tiny Irish press that published it. A deceptively slender volume, it captures with utterly mesmerizing virtuosity the interior reality of its unnamed protagonist, a young woman living a singular and mostly solitary existence on the outskirts of a small coastal village. Sidestepping the usual conventions of narrative, it focuses on the details of her daily experience - from the best way to eat porridge or bananas to an encounter with cows - rendered sometimes in story-length, story-like stretches of narrative, sometimes in fragments no longer than a page, but always suffused with the hypersaturated, almost synesthetic intensity of the physical world that we remember from childhood.

The effect is of character refracted and ventriloquized by environment, catching as it bounces her longings, frustrations, and disappointments - the ending of an affair, or the ambivalent beginning with a new lover. As the narrator's persona emerges in all its eccentricity, sometimes painfully and often hilariously, we cannot help but see mirrored there our own fraught desires and limitations, and our own fugitive desire, despite everything, to be known.

Shimmering and unusual, Pond demands to be devoured in a single sitting that will linger long after the last page.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Shortlisted for the 2016 International Dylan Thomas Prize

"Starred Review. Captivating ... Bennett has achieved something strange, unique, and undeniably wonderful." - Publisher's Weekly

"Bennett's debut lingers long after the last page. Strange and lyrical with an acute sense of humor." - Kirkus

"What Bennett aims at is nothing short of a re-enchantment of the world... This is a truly stunning debut, beautifully written and profoundly witty." - The Guardian (UK)

"A beautiful, lasting book that privileges modes of human experience that are so often undervalued, if they are acknowledged at all: neither formative encounters nor outward achievement, but rather the workings of a roving, inquisitive mind, open and receptive to all." – Literary Review (UK)

"[An] artful collection of shut-in soliloquies…striking." - The Telegraph (UK), "What to Read in 2015"

"Elegantly inventive." – Financial Times (UK)

"A touch of William Gaddis. A touch of Lydia Davis. A touch of Samuel Beckett. A touch of Edna O'Brien. And yet Claire-Louise Bennett's Pond feels entirely unique. Quiet and luxurious all at once, this will be one of the most sensational debuts of the year." - Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin

"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, author of Department of Speculation

"Pond is brilliant - sharp and absorbing, compassionate and funny - and Claire-Louise Bennett is a deeply original writer with talent to spare. I can't stop thinking about this book." - Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans

"As brilliant a debut and as distinct a voice as we've heard in years -this is a real writer with the real goods."- Kevin Barry, author of Beatlebone and City of Bohane

"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, author of A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing

"A very new sort of writing...an acute, satisfying, delicate, honest meditation on both the joys and frustrations of a life fully lived in solitude. Take it slowly, because it is worth it, and be impressed and joyful." - Sara Maitland, author of A Book of Silence

"Claire-Louise Bennett is a major writer to be discovered and treasured." - Deborah Levy, author of Swimming Home

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Author Information

Claire-Louise Bennett

Claire-Louise Bennett's short fiction and essays have been published in The Moth, The Irish Times, and other publications. She was awarded the inaugural White Review Short Story Prize in 2013. Pond is her first book. Bennett lives in Galway, Ireland.

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