Thursday 10 April 2014

Dept of Speculation - Jenny Offill

Dept. of Speculation
Jenny Offill
Alfred A. Knoff a division of
Random House
ISBN 9780385350815

The title of this book grabbed my attention immediately. The book is written as 46 short chapters. They read like journal entries, blog posts or random thoughts. Our heroine only ever referred to as 'the wife' if reflection on life, love, lose and challenges. While dating her husband and her exchanged letters postmarked to the 'Dept. of Speculation' and later in the book during shaky times for their marriage she resumes the habit. The stories in the chapters loosely follow a progression of time but some throw back to old memories as events are recalled and compared. But the main focus is reflections around an affair, and if the marriage can and will survive. The individual chapters oscillate with a random mixture of hope, longing, despair, frustration and rage.

The book is very well written and hard to put down. I found that I often flipped back and reread previous chapters after reading later pieces. The story as a whole feel's like a car heading off a cliff, we are racing towards the edge with no certainty of survival, and following 'the wife's' thoughts not even sure we want to survive. I can say I really enjoyed reading this book. I will likely flip through it again.

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