Summertime delivers the prime opportunity to pull plugs out. Schedules shift, the days grow longer and there is time to savor and experiment. It is a time to cease and desist with the compartmentalization in our lives and not live by time, expectation and appearance. This issue of Bookisshh takes a look at, “Pond” by Claire-Louise Bennett who has crafted a nameless character who does just that: pulls her plug out, wanders, meanders, grows and changes.
If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done
– Bruce Lee
“Pond” by Claire-Louise Bennett
🖊 🖊 🖊 Three Pens
I have been reading too long and have become unconsciously accustomed to industry formatting of text. What I mean is, I got really comfy expecting narratives to be straightforward with all of the elements of literature: character, plot, conflict, setting, dialogue, theme, author’s voice, good use of factual detail when necessary, etc..
One day an author comes along and strips a narrative of these things assembled according to industry guidelines and I am like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. Claire- Louise Bennett has put all of these elements on the table and poured white paint onto them leaving readers to draw lines and color in the details in her debut work, “Pond.”
“Pond” is the story of a nameless woman living in a decaying estate cottage in a small village in coastal Ireland. In journal-like fashion, the nameless female character denotes her daily doings and or discoveries in 3 dimensional, microscopic detail. The author is tentative and conservative when it comes to conflict. Using the greatest of subtlety, similar to releasing a drip water color onto a wet page, she informs readers that her character struggles with the feeling of love, has turned her struggle into an academic dissertation which she abandons, is motherless, estranged from her re-coupled father, weaving in and out of intimate relationships and without purpose or direction. Every tossed stone comes to its own logical conclusion and if the reader can absorb, sustain and connect Bennet’s prose, so too does her character.
In retrospect I like this book more in afterthought ( I toggled back and forth between two and three pens). I enjoyed “Pond”so much so that it inspired a little cooking. Rather than looking for ingredient driven recipes to celebrate wellness and the summer’s bounty, I let “Pond” deliver imagery and flavor to the cook’s tableau in my mind. Since the main character sort of collects things throughout her day and let’s the natural world inspire her, I opted for a Thai inspired wrap. Thai food has such complex flavor profiles: curries, coconut milk, crunchy fresh vegetables, sweet, smokey and spicey. tender proteins when rolled into a simple wrap become a bouquet of explosive flavor. Depending on your carb needs one can easily shift to lettuce to stretch those last few precious leaves.
Check out some of the links below. Julienne and shredded are my favorite textures. I love to add as many vegetables as I can and throw in chicken or tofu if I have some on hand. There are always leftovers waiting to be incorporated. Enjoy!