“Pond” by Claire Louise Bennett

pondStaff Indiebound pick – A.K. Mini Review:

“Enforced remembrance is, I think, a most stultifying thing.”

Bennett has control over the English language that would make one think this is the work of a much older writer. Her prose style has been described as elegant, ardent, eccentric and obsessive compulsive, which isn’t a bad thing, and in Pond we have a writer who loves to write about the inner thinking of the human mind trapped in a society.  A woman recently removed from the university begins a sorta fresh start in a small village on the coast. She talks about the past but as the narrative develops she’s more concerned with talking about the shadows and the sounds under a tree as she winks and then naps. Whole pages and paragraphs devoted to eating bananas with coffee and the growth of potato plants and a theory of an organized life found in Spanish Oranges. Pond reminds me of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and the confessional narrative found in Albert Camus’s The Fall; throw in some absurd comedy and the fondness of watching plants grow on your windowsill, and you have one of the best books released this year. It’s about the big day and being able to find innocent adventures in adult life in a world covered in signs saying pretty much how everything can kill you. It is a novel about wanting a bike that can go up hills…

“I had a bike but I needed a new one, a different one, one with gears, one that could go up hills, one that could go up hills and carry shopping, one that felt sturdy and safe at night along roads where there is no light, one that could go up hills.”

Andrew H. Kuharevicz