'Voyage in the Dark': a story from Claire-Louise Bennett's 'Pond'

"To describe [her] as a bold writer is an understatement," says Catherine Taylor in the Financial Times of Claire-Louise Bennett, whose debut collection has been described as "startlingly original" and drawn comparisons to Robert Walser. Here's the first story from Pond.

Voyage in the Dark

First of all, it seemed to us that you were very handsome. And the principal windows of your house were perfectly positioned to display a blazing reflection at sunset. One evening while walking back from the fields this effect was so dramatic we thought your rooms were burning. We liked nothing better than to rake the tinkling gravel on your drive, then to climb an impeccable tree along its passage and wait. We would hear the engine loud in the valley, followed by a thrilling silence within which we would wave our boots and imagine the leather grip of your hands upon the steering wheel, left and right. Oh, but we were only little girls, little girls, there on the cusp of female individuation, not little girls for long. The other two hung back by the brook with cups on sticks while I made my way over the wall into your ornamental garden, laid down upon the unfeasible grass and fell to sleep wrapped about a lilac seashell, which was of course my most cherished possession.

'Pond' is out now from Fitzcarroldo Editions. Claire-Louise Bennett is in conversation with Joanna Walsh at the Bookshop on Tuesday 17 November. Book tickets here.

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