Dept. of Speculation

By Jenny Offill
(Knopf Publishing Group, Hardcover, 9780385350815, 179pp.)

Publication Date: January 28, 2014

List Price: $22.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.
Shop Local
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.

Go


Selected by Indie Booksellers for the February 2014 Indie Next List
“I found myself gasping at the sheer beauty and conciseness of Offill's sentences in this portrait of a marriage. Dept. of Speculation can be devoured quickly, or readers can linger in it over many sittings. Covering the topics of love, loneliness, grief, joy, fidelity, beauty, depression, mania, motherhood, and writing, the shifting points of view are subtle yet profound, and despite the darkness and sadness of the story, when I closed the book I was left more alert and attentive, and feeling more alive. Highly recommended!”
-- Janet Geddis, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA


Description

Dept. of Speculation is a portrait of a marriage. It is also a beguiling rumination on the mysteries of intimacy, trust, faith, knowledge, and the condition of universal shipwreck that unites us all.

Jenny Offill’s heroine, referred to in these pages as simply “the wife,” once exchanged love letters with her husband postmarked Dept. of Speculation, their code name for all the uncertainty that inheres in life and in the strangely fluid confines of a long relationship. As they confront an array of common catastrophes—a colicky baby, a faltering marriage, stalled ambitions—the wife analyzes her predicament, invoking everything from Keats and Kafka to the thought experiments of the Stoics to the lessons of doomed Russian cosmonauts. She muses on the consuming, capacious experience of maternal love, and the near total destruction of the self that ensues from it as she confronts the friction between domestic life and the seductions and demands of art.

With cool precision, in language that shimmers with rage and wit and fierce longing, Jenny Offill has crafted an exquisitely suspenseful love story that has the velocity of a train hurtling through the night at top speed. Exceptionally lean and compact, Dept. of Speculation is a novel to be devoured in a single sitting, though its bracing emotional insights and piercing meditations on despair and love will linger long after the last page.




About the Author
ELISSA SCHAPPELL is the author of the "Use Me," a contributing editor to "Vanity Fair," and a cofounder of "Tin House," JENNY OFFILL is the author of "Last Things" and teaches in the MFA programs at Brooklyn College and Queens University. They are the coeditors of the anthology "The Friend Who Got Away,"


NPR
Sunday, Jan 26, 2014

Jenny Offill's new book, Dept. of Speculation, uses anecdotes and bits of poetry to tell a nonlinear story of love, parenthood and infidelity. Offill tells NPR's Rachel Martin that her experiences as a mother inspired the book â?? but that her own marriage is far less dramatic than the one in her novel. More at NPR.org

NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.

NPR
Thursday, Jan 23, 2014

Jenny Offill's sparse and experimental novel Dept. of Speculation is a reminder that bigger isn't always better. Through short vignettes, Offill builds a narrative about an unnamed husband and wife. It's a sly, profound glimpse into a fragile domestic sphere â?? and, while the form may be unusual, the book is highly readable. More at NPR.org

NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.

Indie Bookstore Finder
EBbooks and EReaders
Find great gifts: Signed books
Link to IndieBound






Update Profile