Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett

Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett

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Gayle recommends:

‘Not a day goes past that I don't shake a fist at the sky and cry in despair, "When will Claire-Louise Bennett publish something new?!" Until my cries are answered, I'll make do with rereading Pond, Bennett's wildly brilliant and totally unique collection of stories following one woman living alone in the Irish countryside.’

 

From the publisher: 

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.

‘This is an extraordinary collection of short stories – profoundly original though not eccentric, sharp and tender, funny and deeply engaging. A very new sort of writing, Bennett pushes the boundaries of the short story out into new territory: part prose fiction, part stream of consciousness, often truly poetry and always 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

 ‘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, author of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing

‘Bennett’s language is an ornate and long-winded riposte to all those pared-back minimalists, and I love it.’
 — Jon McGregor, The Guardian

‘This is a truly stunning debut, beautifully written and profoundly witty.’
— Andrew Gallix, The Guardian

‘This uncategorizable book will leave you positively buoyant.’
— Heller McAlpin, LA Times

‘Wielding a wry but implacable logic, Claire-Louse Bennett dives under the surface of “ordinary” experiences and things to reveal their supreme and giddy illogic. Like Gail Scott and Lydia Davis before her, she writes an impeccable affect-less prose that almost magically arrives at something extraordinary.’ 
— Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick

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

‘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 City of Bohane

‘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 Dept. of Speculation

 

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