Sunday 3 July 2016


Finished June 30
Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett

This work of fiction speaks from the point of view of a young woman living on the outskirts of an Irish coastal village. It is told in loosely related segments of a personal, internal monologue.
Some are long, some less than a page. Whether she is thinking about tomato puree, the interaction between her and her landlady, a party she is planning, or wondering about what she has forgotten, the writing is lyrical and emotive. The scenes of her life spring to life for the reader.
A couple of examples:
Oh, Tomato Puree! When at last you occur to me it is as something profuse, fresh, and erupting. Alas, when I open the door and read for you you, the chill light comes on and shows you crumpled, cold, and, despite being well within your sell-by-date, in dire need of coaxing. 
Such domestic fluttering is always interpreted as a cue, to move a little further in and set their bag of things upon a chair. I can hear it all from the kitchen; I almost always end up in the kitchen. Looking at the dishes and the knives in the plate rack, then down at the worktop, listening. Listening. In the kitchen, near the sink, some aspect of me is waning, and I cannot pin down exactly why. I feel utterly flimsy, yet I don't look in the mirror, nothing like that; I just stand for a moment, my back to the door and my tapering hands side by side on the worktop, pressing down. Pressing down with the concentrated effort of trying to give myself a little more density. I go to the doorway. I go to the window. I go to the entrance and push closed the top half of the door.And then I move across to the fireplace; sometimes I put both hands flat against the oak beam, and then I turn, and then I finally turn. 
Some sentences made me stop reading for a bit to think about the image or sense invoked. Ones like "The smell of me like a young mouth to a compound fence." for instance. I thought about how to interpret that, what it might mean.
There is humour, pain, uncertainty, longing, simple enjoyment, and disgruntlement. I read this short book a lot slower than normal because of savouring the words, stopping to think about her phrasing, and not wanting to have it come to an end.

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