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Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett

 “The ratcatcher woke me, I knew he was coming, but I’d had three overflowing beers the night before and I’d slept through the rat and I wanted to go on sleeping.”  

–– An excerpt from the chapter titled “First Thing” in Claire-Lousie Bennett’s book Pond 

You would never guess that Pond is Claire-Louise Bennett’s debut book by the way she expertly crafts her stories. Her writing style is similar in feel to authors like Virginia Woolf and Anne Carson, but at the same time, she has her own unique and fascinating tone. 

Pond is about the daily life of an unnamed woman living in a coastal village.  

Bennett’s construction of the book offers brief glimpses into our protagonist’s life –– as if opening a window in her cottage and peeking in. What’s incredible about this book and what we found so enticing is Bennett’s ability to spin the mundane into something unusual –– something quirky, comical and brilliant. She takes ordinary events like preparing for company or buying a tapestry and revitalizes them. The way she reveals the protagonist’s unfiltered thoughts and speculations lets readers learn how comical, and at times childish, the protagonist can be.  

Margriet Smulders’ painting Fair is foul, and foul is fair was chosen as the cover for Pond. It quite accurately materializes the colours, clutters and imperfections that Bennett writes of.  

We can’t say for sure how Bennett feels about the cover of her book; but we feel that when you pick up Pond, you immediately have an understanding of the imagery used in Bennett’s short stories. 

The way that Bennett has written these short stories allows them to be read on and off, out of order, and many times over. She writes almost without any sense of time, making each story easy to read, while at the same time leaving you with a lot to think about and consider. This quality makes it a good book to have on the go while in school.  

Reward yourself with a story from Pond after completing an exam. 

Pond can be found at the Killam Memorial Library at Dalhousie University, at the Halifax Public Libraries, as well as local bookstores. 

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Chiara Ferrero-Wong

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