—Jenny Offill's Dept. of Speculation (), which offers a non-linear and cientes más aclamadas por la crítica —Dept. of Speculation () de Jenny Offill—. From the acclaimed author of Last Things comes a slim, stunning portrait of a marriage--a beguiling rumination on the mysteries of intimacy. Contemporary Classics Book Discussion. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill. Looking for a little something to liven up your Monday evening?.
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TITLE: Dept. of Speculation. AUTHOR: Jenny Offill. READ BY: Jenny Offill. CLASSIFICATION: FICTION. GENRES: Fiction. LANGUAGE: English. Books Download Dept of Speculation (PDF, ePub, Mobi) by Jenny Offill Online for Free. of Speculation (Vintage Contemporaries) by Jenny Offill. From the acclaimed author of Last Things comes a slim, stunning portrait of a marriage—a beguiling rumination on the mysteries of intimacy, trust, faith.
I haven't felt so confident recommending a fictional novel I've read to date. What kind of repulsive creature? To write like Offill you need an American education and access to the internet. With an OverDrive account, you can save your favorite libraries for at-a-glance information about availability. Times First Book Award. In Dept. Because it perfectly captures the exasperation, tedium, and unbounded joy of being at home with a new baby.
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.
Joyously demanding. A book so radiant, so sparkling with sunlight and sorrow, that it almost makes a person gasp. Each line a dazzling, perfectly chiseled arrowhead aimed at your heart. Jenny Offill is a master of form and feeling, and she gets life on the page in new, startling ways. Offill uses her novel to explore the question of how to be an artist as well as a wife and mother, when these states can feel impossibly contradictory.
Intriguing, beautifully written, sly, and often profound.
An account of matrimony and motherhood that breaks free of the all-too-limiting traditional stories of wives and mothers. It may be difficult to truly know what happens between two people, but Offill gets alarmingly close.
A series of wry vignettes that deepen movingly.
A shattered novel that stabs and sparkles at the same time. Unfolds in tart, tiny chapters suffused with pithy philosophical musings, scientific tidbits, and poetic sayings that collectively guide a brainy, beleaguered couple through the tricky emotional terrain of their once wondrous, now wobbly union. Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book! The style, with the quick snippets of life interspersed with facts and quotes, reads like David Markson -lite. While the style does help investigate the character from an abstract perspective that feels very intimate, it also feels as if it is used more for the sake of seeming experimental than actually being experimental.
Speculation toys with po-mo techniques without really being po-mo itself the novel is rather straight-forward despite the impression of not being so , and seems to be akin to the way David Mitchell takes more popular fiction plots and bridges them towards a more literary bent.
The quotes and facts seem more there for charm and quirkiness than to provide actual depth; the factoids used are like the sort of things you read on a cereal box, fun and thought-provoking, but not very functional.
At times it made me wish she could spin a better phrase that would cut to the core, but it was used consistently and helped create a believable character. Or more properly, she thinks instead of acts. A character flaw, not a virtue. While it is not quite the work of brilliance than many have championed it, the book is also nowhere near as bad as its detractors have claimed and it is still a powerful book despite a few minor grievances.
Offill does well to pull at the heart strings, though this does often seem more a novel that forces you to feel the emotion rather than let the emotion rise up naturally.
The style is rather engaging and allows for a fun and insightful look into the character and her world, but feels stale but Offill covers this staleness up with rich, warm, emotional butter to still pull off a palatable treat of fiction.
Fun fact. However, this book shares many key aspects of both, such as the scrap writing or being friends with a philosopher like the narrator in Faces. Which is a problem with this book, it just feels like the heartfelt moments of many other books all blended into one without taking any of these elements into a fresh direction or perspective. View all 12 comments. Aug 06, Katie rated it really liked it Shelves: Essentially, Offill carries out a kind of emotional autopsy on a young woman trying to divide her energies between bringing up a young child and keeping a husband happy without sacrificing her commitment to succeeding as a writer.
One of the many brilliant vignettes is her discovery that her baby who rarely stops crying finds solace under very bright fluorescent lights. This means she takes him to the corner store every day and just idles away inside for as long as possible without drawing too much attention to herself.
The early years of motherhood are not an uninterrupted crooning of delight. But she does the delight too, and does it very well. Even if the husband leaves her in this awful craven way, she will still have to count it as a miracle, all of those happy years she spent with him. It loses a star for me because I began to feel it lost momentum towards the end. The novel deserved a more daring and satisfactory denouement. To use an Olympic simile it came charging out of the blocks but cramped up a bit in the final lap.
View all 22 comments. Feb 04, Idarah rated it it was amazing Shelves: Indulging in my love of audio books has become more challenging since I quit my job, and no longer have a two and a half hour commute to get lost in a dreamy book.
I've taken to having a special ME day once a week. The ritual revolves around my complicated and needy hair.
The process of pre-shampooing, washing, deep conditioning, detangling, and finally braiding my hair into tiny segments occupies about hours sometimes. I used to put it off until I absolutely had a knotted mess on my hands. I decided to use this time to get back into my audio book routine. It's helped tremendously! This short little book consumed my whole morning today. Even late into tonight, I'm still pondering why I loved it so much.
The lame comeback? This stuff is real. It's real. Focusing on the protagonist's life before marriage, after marriage, motherhood, and the complications from imperfect relationships, I was especially drawn to the "wife's" constant choice of family over career.
Her inner doubts about being a good wife, mom, sister, and friend touched me deeply. I fell in love with her character and just wanted to extend a huge hug. View all 31 comments. Jan 05, Greg rated it liked it Shelves: Or more properly she thinks instead of acts. A character flaw not a virtue. Of Speculation is a short novel of a marriage.
It's told in 46 chapters composed of short paragraphs and almost aphoristic lines and quotes in compact pages.
The narrator, the Wife, goes from being a young woman who considers being an Art Monster, a person who lives solely for the creation of their art, to a wife and a mother.
It's set mostly in Brooklyn, but that shouldn't be held against it. It's not one of those Park Slope mommy books that seem to be a thing lately. I had mixed feelings about this book. I found much of the writing to be great, and the individual lines and paragraphs to be interesting, sometimes in that fleeting kind of, 'you are saying something exactly that I've thought about before' kind of way, sort of in a less gloom filled way that reading E.
Cioran can be. But, I had a hard time feeling involved in the story itself, the characters, the Wife, the Husband the Daughter, and the other nameless characters never felt like more than wisps of ideas.
She used to make fun of those people. With their happiness maps and their gratitude journals and their bags made out of recycled tire treads. But now it seems possible that the truth about getting older is that there are fewer and fewer things to make fun of until finally there is nothing you are sure you will never be. View all 4 comments.
There are blowsy baroque behemoths that spill the entire contents of the fridge onto your reading table and let you do the cooking, and the clearing up afterwards too sometimes , and then there are the delicate offerings, the distilled essence from the alembic, an extract that carries, within a tiny drop, sweetness, tartness, acidity, all at once. Jewel-like droplets that set the mouth ablaze and the mind reeling. This is sensational. Offill dispenses with all the conventional tr There are blowsy baroque behemoths that spill the entire contents of the fridge onto your reading table and let you do the cooking, and the clearing up afterwards too sometimes , and then there are the delicate offerings, the distilled essence from the alembic, an extract that carries, within a tiny drop, sweetness, tartness, acidity, all at once.
Offill dispenses with all the conventional trappings of a novel, all that telling and telling and telling, spewing out words and more words and yet more words, and offers us instead single chiselled shots, flashes, aphoristic vignettes. Poetic parenthood: The baby's eyes were dark, almost black, and when I nursed her in the middle of the night, she'd stare at me with a stunned, shipwrecked look as if my body were the island she'd washed up on. But anguished too: What do you want?
I don't know. What seems to be the problem? Just leave me alone. Stunned by her own fierce love for this screaming colicky creature: Is she a good baby? People would ask me. Well, no, I'd say. That swirl of hair on the back of her head. We must have taken a thousand pictures of it. The Wife's plan to become an art monster turns into the road not taken. Of course she's angry. And helpless. There are mice cavorting in the cupboards. Everyone is lost in space. There is a devastating change from 'I' to 'She'.
And a tentative return to 'We'. It is wistful, funny and startling. It is motherhood, identity, and a marriage in crisis, exploded into shimmering shards.
It is life. It is how I would love to be able to write. Jun 09, Roger Brunyate rated it it was amazing Shelves: Because it has one of the coolest back-cover endorsements by Michael Cunningham you will ever see. Because by reading you will challenge this advice to wives, quoted in the book: The indiscriminate reading of novels is one of the most injurious habits to which a married woman can be subject. Besides the false views of human nature it will impart, it produces an indifference to the performance of domestic duties, and contempt for Ten Reasons Why You Should Read This Extraordinary Book Besides the false views of human nature it will impart, it produces an indifference to the performance of domestic duties, and contempt for ordinary realities.
Because at pages, it is compact, provocative, healing, and lethal. Because the narrator is smart, funny, offbeat, and very real, despite not being given a name. Because the tiny paragraphs of which it is composed—points to ponder, fragments of feeling—are far more hit than miss, and their apparent randomness conceals a cumulative power that will take you by surprise.
Because you will learn more than you have ever forgotten about the history of space exploration not to mention the long-distance vision of antelopes and attempts to photograph the human soul , but the space that Offill herself explores is inside her.
Because it perfectly captures the exasperation, tedium, and unbounded joy of being at home with a new baby. Because, sneaking upon you unawares, it tells the inside story of an ordinary good marriage, the shock of adultery, and the terrible period afterwards when everything hangs in the balance. Because it contains and exemplifies this quotation from Rilke: Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, to where no one can go any further.
Because, when all is said and done, it is just so heartbreakingly beautiful. View all 19 comments. Mar 04, Carol rated it did not like it. Typically it sounds like the ramblings of a person in couples' therapy when only one partner shows up. I would like to talk about the redeeming graces of this novelette, but I could find none, It was like picking up someone's private daily journal -- and finding that it's really only meaningful to the person writing it.
Unfortunately, this material just did not engage me. The text that explains the origin of the title truly disappointed. View all 17 comments. Jan 03, christa rated it it was amazing. True confession: The thing landed on, like, every Best Of list in the universe, probably even half-assedly scribbled onto fast food napkins. I felt passionate and heart-beaty about it.
I touched words on pages and sighed like they were images in a yearbook or whatever. I turned my copy in True confession: I turned my copy into origami, what with all the dog-earing. I thought these out-of-character words so many times: A woman living in Brooklyn meets a man who makes soundscapes and falls in love and they get married and make a baby. It all goes against this sort of master plan she had to become an Art Monster -- a rarity for women, she notes, but she would be a person who only thinks about art and is never burdened by the mundane.
TThere is a breach in the relationship. The man gets into it with another woman and the narrator spends a lot of time in this weird limbo of trying to figure out the status of her family.
Is he in, is he out and all that. But the story is written in these really super short paragraphs, just scraps of barely vignettes, that give just enough details to what is happening. In between are fun facts about Buddhist teachings and interactions with her sister or her friend a philosopher or memories.
This is, style-wise, brilliant. My heart was beating too fast, as if I might be arrested. If she would lie quietly with me, if I could bury my face in her hair, yes, then yes, uncle. Sep 20, Stephen rated it did not like it Shelves: The subject of this book is the same as Elena Ferrante's The Days of Abandonment - the husband strays - yet the writing couldn't have been handled more differently.
To write like Ferrante you need a grasp of literature. To write like Offill you need an American education and access to the internet. Ferrante wears her education lightly - there are little, if any references to great writers. Offill doesn't let you forget who she's in touch with. Offill talks a lot about art. Ferrante asks you to judge The subject of this book is the same as Elena Ferrante's The Days of Abandonment - the husband strays - yet the writing couldn't have been handled more differently.
Ferrante asks you to judge whether she's succeeding at it. Ferrante's bad behavior is understandable, given the context. Offill's bad behavior is without context, expecting you to take it on faith. Ferrante's narrator is in contact with people who are strangers. There are no people outside of Offill's privileged circle - the few that get a mention are dispatched in a line or two. Offill's use of profanity is meant to show that we're not dealing with a total square. Ferrante embeds her irony in the spaces of a paragraph, enriching the story with this bedrock.
Offill is not unlike most of our generation - if you cannot express irony in the snappy one-liner it's nowhere to be found. Offill speaks honestly to be understood.
Ferrante speaks honestly because the truth of what happened is important. Offill's anger knows the law will eventually back her up - things just aren't working out right now.
That's the source of her humor, or why she is so "funny", according to the blurbs. Ferrante's anger knows that there's no safety net for these intermittences of the heart. The wife tries to confront the girl he was cheating with, realizing that her husband picked someone that looked like a younger version of her.
The wife repeatedly contemplates divorce, and despite the best efforts of her husband, it is clear that their relationship is shattered. To make matters worse, he starts to relapse. In an attempt to fix their relationship, the family moves out to the country.
At first their daughter has trouble with it, but she ends up adjusting to the move. The husband and wife still occasionally fight after the move, but over time she starts to keep quiet, although she has fantasies about a secret life where she runs away.
By the end of the book the wife has started referring to herself in the first person again.
The book ends rather abruptly with the protagonist sending her child off to school during the winter with the protagonist seemingly feeling defeated in life, but having come to accept her fate. Read more from the Study Guide. Browse all BookRags Study Guides. Copyrights Dept. All rights reserved. Toggle navigation. Sign Up. Sign In.