Search-icon

Dept. of Speculation

By

Hardcover published by Knopf (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

Larger Image
have you read it? rate it!
Histogram_reset_icon
ADD TO MY SHELF
About This Book
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.
Show less
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.
Product Details
Hardcover (192 pages)
Published: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Knopf
ISBN: 9780385350815
Other books byJenny Offill
  • While You Were Napping

    While You Were Napping
    In this hilarious read-aloud featuring robots, fire trucks, and pirates, meet an older sister who’s more than happy to fill her little brother in on all he missed while he was napping. Since none of the other neighborhood kids had to nap, they came over. Then came the robots, and of course the astronauts. It was tons of fun . . . and luckily for the boy (right?!), he slept through it all! Here’s a picture book that is sure to ring true in every family with more than one child. With minimal text and raucous illustrations, this laugh-out-loud, spot-on picture book is also a perfect portrait of a mischievous kid at her imaginative best.

    17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore

    17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore
    A laugh-out-loud look at all the fun things grown-ups never let you do . . . now in paperback! Jenny Offill, author of 11 Experiments That Failed, describes how tough it is to be a kid, when even the (seemingly) best ideas are met with resistance. The text is short, spare, and fall-on-the-floor funny—not to mention utterly child-friendly. Here, accompanied by Nancy Carpenter's hilariously clever illustrations, is a day-in-the-life look at a kid as she torments her brother, her pet, her classmates, and, of course, her mother. The theme of this Dragonfly Book is Just for Fun.

    Money Changes Everything

    Money Changes Everything
    Twenty-Two Writers Tackle the Last Taboo with...
    The editors of The Friend Who Got Away are back with a new anthology that will do for money what they did for women’s friendships. Ours is a culture of confession, yet money remains a distinctly taboo subject for most Americans. In this riveting anthology, a host of celebrated writers explore the complicated role money has played in their lives, whether they’re hiding from creditors or hiding a trust fund. This collection will touch a nerve with anyone who’s ever been afraid to reveal their bank balance. In these wide-ranging personal essays, Daniel Handler, Walter Kirn, Jill McCorkle, Meera Nair, Henry Alford, Susan Choi, and other acclaimed authors write with startling candor about how money has strengthened or undermined their closest relationships. Isabel Rose talks about the trials and tribulations of dating as an heiress. Tony Serra explains what led him to take a forty-year vow of poverty. September 11 widow Marian Fontana illuminates the heartbreak and moral complexities of victim compensation. Jonathan Dee reveals the debt that nearly did him in. And in paired essays, Fred Leebron and his wife Katherine Rhett discuss the way fights over money have shaken their marriage to the core again and again. We talk openly about our romantic disasters and family dramas, our problems at work and our battles with addiction. But when it comes to what is or is not in our wallets, we remain determinedly mum. Until now, that is. Money Changes Everything is the first anthology of its kind—an unflinching and on-the-record collection of essays filled with entertaining and enlightening insights into why we spend, save, and steal. The pieces in Money Changes Everything range from the comic to the harrowing, yet they all reveal the complex, emotionally charged role money plays in our lives by shattering the wall of silence that has long surrounded this topic.

    The Friend Who Got Away

    The Friend Who Got Away
    Twenty Women's True Life Tales of Friendships...
    Losing a friend can be as painful and as agonizing as a divorce or the end of a love affair, yet it is rarely written about or even discussed. THE FRIEND WHO GOT AWAY is the first book to address this near-universal experience, bringing together the brave, eloquent voices of writers like Francine Prose, Katie Roiphe, Dorothy Allison, Elizabeth Strout, Ann Hood, Diana Abu Jabar, Vivian Gornick, Helen Schulman, and many others. Some write of friends who have drifted away, others of sudden breakups that took them by surprise. Some even celebrate their liberation from unhealthy or destructive relationships. Yet at the heart of each story is the recognition of a loss that will never be forgotten. From stories about friendships that dissolved when one person revealed a hidden self or moved into a different world, to tales of relationships sabotaged by competition, personal ambition, or careless indifference, THE FRIEND WHO GOT AWAY casts new light on the meaning and nature of women’s friendships. Katie Roiphe writes with regret about the period in her life when even close friends seemed expendable compared to men and sex. Mary Morris reveals how a loan led to the unraveling of a lifelong friendship. Vivian Gornick explores how intellectual differences eroded the bond between once inseparable companions. And two contributors, once best friends, tell both sides of the story that led to their painful breakup. Written especially for this anthology and touched with humor, sadness, and sometimes anger, these extraordinary pieces simultaneously evoke the uniqueness of each situation and illuminate the universal emotions evoked by the loss of a friend.

Favorite QuotesFROM THIS BOOK
Quote Cannot be Empty

Submitted quotes are usually posted within 48 hours

ThanksYour Quote Will be posted Shortly
Bookish