In Claire-Louise Bennett's shimmering debut, an unnamed young woman - wry, somewhat misanthropic, keenly observant - chronicles her life on the outskirts of a small coastal village.
The charms of bananas and oatcakes in the morning and Spanish oranges after sex; the small pleasures and anxieties of throwing a party, exchanging salacious emails with a new lover, sitting in the bath as it storms outside. Broken oven knobs prompt a meditation on survival that's both haunting and playful; a sunset walk leads to an unsettling encounter with a herd of cows; the discovery of an old letter recalls an impossible affair.
Sidestepping the usual conventions of narrative, Pond refracts the narrator's uncannily intimate experience in the details of daily life, rendered sometimes in story-like stretches, sometimes in fragments, and suffused with the almost synesthetic intensity of the physical world as we remember it from childhood. As her persona emerges in all its particularity, sometimes painfully and often hilariously, we cannot help seeing mirrored there our own fraught longings, our own fugitive desire, despite everything, to be known.
Enchanting and unusual, Pond will linger long after the last minute.
©2015 Claire-Louise Bennett (P)2016 Tantor