From the acclaimed author of Weather comes a slim, stunning portrait of a marriage--a beguiling rumination on the mysteries of intimacy, trust, faith, knowledge, and the condition of universal shipwreck that unites us all.
ONE OF THE 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR - THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
A Best Book of the Year: The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Vogue.com, Electric Literature, Buzzfeed
In the beginning, it was easy to imagine their future. They were young and giddy, sure of themselves and of their love for each other. “Dept. of Speculation” was their code name for all the thrilling uncertainties that lay ahead. Then they got married, had a child and navigated the familiar calamities of family life—a colicky baby, a faltering relationship, stalled ambitions.
When their marriage reaches a sudden breaking point, the wife tries to retrace the steps that have led them to this place, invoking everything from Kafka to the Stoics to doomed Russian cosmonauts as she analyzes what is lost and what remains. In language that shimmers with rage and longing and wit, Offill has created a brilliantly suspenseful love story—a novel to read in one sitting, even as its piercing meditations linger long after the last page.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We take particular pleasure in a great book that can be read in one sitting. Jenny Offill’s compact story about love, marriage, parenting, betrayal, and forgiveness captures the truth of being in relationships—warts and all. Folding in snippets of conversation, random trains of thought, and quotes and ideas from famous philosophers and writers, Dept. of Speculation is as funny as it is intelligent and moving. We’re telling all our friends to read it.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Raw, disjointed, honest. A truly honest and accurate outward representation of a wife and mother's inner turmoil. The wife's rage, guilt, solitude, sadness, love and commitment will resonate with any woman who has invested her entire self/identity to be wife, lover, friend, mother and professional to discover it can be destroyed on a whim.
It’s like sitting by a river but instead of water it’s words that flow by, different speeds, some come together as sentences and some of these sentences splash over you. You can’t see what’s coming so you sit and don’t anticipate. It’s a beautiful stream of consciousness.
A good book written in an unusual style. You have to read it carefully to pick up the fine points. The writing, like the main character, suffers from gaps in narration, but to an interesting effect.