A brief book covers the arc of a marriage from dating to parenthood to an affair and beyond…in the form of journal-entry-type comments that nail the joys and the challenges of married life. DEPT. OF SPECULATION:A NOVEL by Jenny Offill is set in the mind and emotions of “the wife” who is writing about her experience. It’s sharp and honest…also, loving and heart-breaking. The wife is a writer and teacher and her habits of thought draw quotes from literature, art, and world events (Keats, Kafka, space travel, yoga, etc.) that expand her reactions to everyday life. Her love for her husband and her daughter are palpable in her yearning and dismay. Details of NYC living – including a bedbug infestation- are authentic. Offill packs a lot in this portrait- both humorous and poignant- of a marriage. Intimacy, trust, knowledge, and hope for the future shimmer from each page.


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