Jenny Offill – Dept of Speculation

This is quite an unusual book, and a difficult one to review, but it’s a pretty special one. It features just a small variety of unnamed characters, a husband, a wife, their family and friends.

The book is put together in short, snappy vignettes, and is more akin to poetry at times than ordinary narrative fiction, such is the beauty and quotability of the lines. Offill gives us a vision of a marriage from the day the couple met to the devastating finish and aftermath. It’s not a complicated read, as it doesn’t jump wildly across different times, giving us a fairly straight account of what’s happened with the couple.

Dept of Speculation delves deeply into a person’s sense of self and features quotes from other sources that resonate heavily. This is a slim volume, but one that’ll stay with you for a long time.


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