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Daniel Hartley

Claire-Louise Bennett’s <br><i>Pond</i>

Claire-Louise Bennett’s

Review by Daniel Hartley

The stories in Claire-Louise Bennett’s Pond feature a consistent narratorial voice: a female first-person narrator who recounts past events, hypothetical situations, and self-discoveries to an implied interlocutor. A young Englishwoman living in rural Ireland (or so we infer), the narrator is unreliable to the extent that she is often unsure as to what took place in the past, what her motivation was, or why she is even recounting this in the present. She is generally as much as of a mystery to herself as to the reader; indeed, the narrative motor of these stories is less plot than the narrator’s attempt to fathom why she did or did not do something, or what exactly the truth might be behind a particular trait she has remarked about herself . . .