"A sharp, funny, and eccentric debut ... Pond makes the case for Bennett as an innovative writer of real talent. ... [It]reminds us that small things have great depths." - New York Times Book Review "Dazzling...exquisitely written and daring ." - O, the Oprah Magazine 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.
"[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... Sometimes first novels like Pond are one-offs. They deliver a voice the author can't tap again. 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 "Imagine a short-story collection written by Emily Dickinson, and you'll get the weird genius of this book." -The Boston Globe "A sharp, funny, and eccentric debut ... one of those books so odd and vivid they make your own life feel strangely remote. Somehow, Bennett has written a fantasy novel for grownups that is a kind of extended case for living an existence that threatens to slip out of tune... Pond makes the case for Bennett as an innovative writer of real talent. ... [It]reminds us that small things have great depths." -The New York Times Book Review "A work of fiction that will make you feel pleasantly insane...Like Lydia Davis, Bennett...takes a state of mind closely associated with madness and places it in settings that are utterly domestic, mundane. The result is fervid and fearful...It is also funny...unnerving... sensitive to the point of being porous...lucid, practical, and excruciatingly cognizant of what is normal." -The New Yorker "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 "The sort of avant-garde opus destined to put its author on the map alongside modern-day prose stylists of the highest order...The tilt of Bennett's pen (or the stroke of her key) lends gravity to anything it touches... This collection is for wiseasses and weirdos, a cathedral of strange sentences... built upon the singular experience of being a human being. It contains only sharp observations and a constant juggling between beauty and decay, moments stretched and skewed like leaded glass... Pond sparkles with witty one-liners...[a] gorgeous book." -Los Angeles Review of Books "[T]his Woolfian novella will challenge all your ideas of narrative. Dreamlike fragments of a life drift in and out of frame, with startling prose that will make your usual perspective feel like sleepwalking." - Elle "Bennett's prose-ardent, addictively obsessive-compulsive, a little feral-is from another galaxy, or maybe another century. Her delight in nature and gardening can be kookily romantic...and yet one could also imagine her taking an improbably cheerful seat among the modernists...A man alone is a visionary; a woman alone is a witch-or worse, Bridget Jones. But Bennett spins something entirely different from her separateness, a kind of philosophy of being in the world as a writer both refreshing and hard-won." - Vogue "Innovative, beguiling...meditative...a fresh new voice from seemingly out of nowhere...Reading Bennett's book of loosely linked stories is a lovely retreat from the cacophony of contemporary life...wryly intelligent...quirky...[and] brightly original." -Los Angeles Times "[A] smart, funny, elliptical debut...Reminiscent of Joyce and Beckett in its unmistakably Irish blend of earthy wit and existential unease. Yet Bennett does much more than emulate literary forebears. Pond expressed her unique sensibility in deceptively simply, delightfully unsettled prose. We'll be hearing more from this formidably gifted young writer." -The Boston Globe "[Pond] contains no story, no action and...one describable character and is defined as much by these absences as by the material that remains. What's left on the page are the g