Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett is a collection of tumbling thoughts. The first-person narrator is an odd, unnamed woman who the reader follows on a series of linked short stories that weave through the tediousness of her daily life. Although I enjoyed the quality writing as well as the unpredictability, the story could not hold my interest. The lack of plot was the main reason, as the story does not follow an arch, hold mystery, or hold much weight.
My favorite section of the book is below. Interesting on its own, but doubly intriguing as Bennett chose to keep her main character unnamed throughout the entire story.
“Names in books are nearly always names from real life and so already the reader is bound to have some knowledge about a person with a particular name such as Miriam and even if that reader’s mind is robust and adaptable some little thing about Miriam in real life will infiltrate Miriam in the book so that it doesn’t matter how many times her earlobes are referred to as dainty and girlish in the reader’s mind Miriam’s earlobes are forever florid and pendulous. It is very difficult, I should think, to make up a person and have everyone reassemble him or her in just the way intended, without anything intervening, and sometimes, as I read, the pressure exerted by so much emphatic character exposition and plotted human endeavor becomes stifling and I have the horrible encroaching sensation that I’m getting everything all wrong or that I’m absolutely oblivious to something fairly accessible and very profound.”
I would still recommend this book to someone looking for quality writing in a unique format. Although the book did not find my soft spot, it did receive rave reviews, and I have no doubt that to the right reader, in the right mood, this book could be a masterpiece.