Philip Maughan

In the Elastic Gloom

Pond

By

Fitzcarraldo Editions 184pp £10.99 order from our bookshop

‘English, strictly speaking, is not my first language,’ explains the unnamed narrator whose feverish reflections are the subject of Claire-Louise Bennett’s Pond. ‘Regrettably I don’t think my first language can be written down at all … I think it has to stay where it is; simmering in the elastic gloom betwixt my flickering organs.’

Bennett is an English-born writer who lives on the west coast of Ireland. Pond, her debut book of stories, published earlier this year by pioneering Irish press The Stinging Fly, and now in London by upstarts Fitzcarraldo Editions, is hardly a book of stories at all. Instead it is a first-hand examination of solitude: an unrestrained account of the mind at play as it ricochets from simple objects – vegetables, thatch, underwear – to suggestions, ideas, memories and impressions of the external world. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,