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.
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'With exceptional originality, intensity and sweetness, Dept. of Speculation is a shattered novel that stabs and sparkles at the same time. It is the kind of book that you will be quoting over and over to friends who don't quite understand, until they give in and read it too' --John Self, Guardian
'It's often extremely funny and often painful; earnestly direct but glancingly ironic... Dept. of Speculation is all the powerful because it first appears slight. Its depth and intensity make a stealthy purchase on the reader' --James Wood, New Yorker
'Profoundly moving... Offill nails life to the page. She's good on falling in love. She's good on the poleaxing exhaustion of early motherhood. But she's at her best on the grim, "stateless" no-man's-land between being a wife and becoming a divorcee. And if all of this bleakness makes you quest, don't be. Offill is also sharply witty and there is a happy ending' --Intelligent Life
'Beautiful, carefully crafted... The effect is poetic in its beauty and intensity. It is also very funny. It is about life, unvarnished, yet every bit of it made profound by Offill's glorious prose' --Financial Times
'Dense with intelligence and life... Offill is incisive on the pleasures, terrors and frustrations of parenthood. Although the book is often sad, it is also funny. It reveals depth and beauty in small, mundane things' --Prospect
'Arresting... In one section, I cried both times I read it' --3AM Magazine
'Magnificent and very funny... Dept. of Speculation is the sort of book which, if you went through it with a pencil, underlining quotable lines, would end up being entirely underlined. I finished it in one sitting then went straight back to the beginning' --Irish Independent
'A fast-paced and fragmented text... Such observed moments of boredom, joy and terror are the triumph of this novel, spilling panic, pain and confusion of marriage and motherhood on to the page' **** --Sunday Telegraph
'Brilliant... oddly invigorating, like a strong martini' --'Top Summer Reads', Metro
'Brilliant, risk-taking and thought-provoking... Offill has a gift for saying something extraordinary in a handful of words [and] tells it with mesmerising skill. Dept of Speculation is astute and affecting. Offill has created a masterpiece that is philosophical, funny and moving' --Irish Times
'Offill has pinned down the bewildering wonder of new motherhood in sentences that are tense and precise. The fragmentary structure of the novel perfectly conjures the scattered thoughts of a creative mind, scooping up all in its wake' --Times Literary Supplement
'Very funny, very sad' --'Books of the Year', Daily Telegraph
'I absolutely adored it. It's like nothing I've ever read. Even though it's a small book, it builds up to something great' --Doon Mackichan, BBC Radio 4's A Good Read
'I have read and re-read Jenny Offill's ingenious, moving and refreshing Dept of Speculation. It manages to reinvent the whole medium of the novel. And that's certainly not something you see every day' -- 'Book of the year' chosen by Maggie O'Farrell, Sunday Herald
'Offill's book delicately examines the minutiae of a modern marriage. With so much conveyed in so few words, it's simply brilliant' --Book of the year in the Stylist
'It's a timeless, even, some might say, predictable story, but Offill's innovative fragmentary structure breathes a fresh and visceral vibrancy into this age-old saga. Beautifully devastating, Dept. of Speculation is a worthy inclusion on this year's Folio prize shortlist' --Paperback of the Week, Observer
'Jenny Offill has such a specific way of writing, and her words touch something very deep in me' --Clémence Poésy, PORTER magazine
'It was my favourite book of last year and I keep returning to it. Compelling and heartbreaking... This is writing at its inventory, original best and I can't wait to see what Offill will do next' -- Maggie O'Farrell, Daily Mail
'Written in fragments that seem at first to be random thoughts plucked from Offill's mental wanderings, but gradually coalescing into a rich and satisfying whole, the narrative (and the narrator) are propped up by eclectic oneliners - from poets to various astronauts - and even a snippet of advice for wives circa 1896 to avoid the indiscriminate reading of novels lest it breeds a contempt for domestic duties. Offill's novel is a life raft: read it for its unsentimental scoop on love, the breaking of something good, and the possibility of patching the cracks and pulling through' -- Independent
'In this fast-paced, fractured text [...] brief first-person paragraphs, aphorisms and quotations build in tension... As these diary-like entries build, so, too, does the claustrophobia that domesticity can bring... Such observed moments of boredom, joy and terror are the triumph of this novel, spilling the panic, pain and confusion of marriage and motherhood onto the page' --Beth Jones, Belfast Telegraph
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Descrizione libro Knopf, 2014. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Condizione sovraccoperta: New. First Edition; First Printing. Book and DJ New. No names or notes. Remainder slash at bottom edge. DJ not price clipped ($22.95) ; 192 pages. Codice libro della libreria 59699
Descrizione libro Condizione libro: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Codice libro della libreria 97803853508151.0
Descrizione libro Condizione libro: New. Gift Quality Book in Excellent Condition. Codice libro della libreria 36SFFI0001N1
Descrizione libro Knopf, 2014. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110385350813
Descrizione libro Knopf, 2014. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 0385350813
Descrizione libro U.S.A.: Knopf, 2014. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Condizione sovraccoperta: New. 1st Edition... autographed copy, 1st printing Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng. Signed by Author(s). Codice libro della libreria BU-1768