Each month Spike Island in partnership with Bristol Festival of Ideas invites a debut novelist to read from and talk about their work in a relaxed, informal setting. Extracts from the texts are available in advance, but prior knowledge of the text is not essential. Topics of discussion include theme, structure, inspiration and the craft of writing. These sessions are a great way to discover new writing talent and great books.
Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett
Feverish and forthright, Pond is an absorbing chronicle of the pitfalls and pleasures of a solitudinous life told by an unnamed woman living on the cusp of a coastal town. Broken bowls, belligerent cows, swanky aubergines, trembling moonrises and horrifying sunsets, the physical world depicted in these stories is unsettling yet intimately familiar and soon takes on a life of its own. Captivated by the stellar charms of seclusion but restless with desire, the woman’s relationship with her surroundings becomes boundless and increasingly bewildering. Claire-Louise Bennett’s startlingly original first collection slips effortlessly between worlds and is by turns darkly funny and deeply moving.
These stories are intelligent and funny, innovative and provocative, and it’s impossible to read them without thinking that here is a writer who has only just begun to show what she can do. – Eimear McBride, author
Image credit Conor Horgan