Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dept. of Speculation; Jenny Offill

Dept. of Speculation; Jenny Offill

Dept. of Speculation is a moving story about the disintegration of a marriage. It's about putting your dreams on the back burner for your child and for your marriage. 

An unnamed narrator tell of the highlights and low lights of marriage and parenting. None of the characters have names: husband, wife, daughter and a few friends, yet by the end I felt like I knew them or at least have been where they've been at some point in my married life.

The story shifts from points in time as memories, both painful and happy ones.  There are so many touching quotes that made me reflect on my own days as a young mother and wife.
  • "I remember the first time I said the word to a stranger. It's for my daughter. I said. My heart was beating too fast, as if I might be arrested." 
  • "Hard to believe I use to think love was such a fragile business.  Once when he was still young, I saw a bit of his scalp showing through his hair and I was afraid.  But it was just a cowlick.  Now sometimes it shows through for real, but I feel only tenderness."
  • "It is important if someone asks you to remember one of your happiest times to consider not only the question but the questioner.  If the question is asked by someone you love, it is fair to assume that this person hopes to feature in this recollection he has called forth.  But you could, if you were wrong and if you had a crooked heart, forget this most obvious and endearing thing and instead speak of a time you were all alone in the country, with no one wanting a thing from you, not even love. You could say that this was your happiest time.  And if you did this then telling about this happiest of times would cause the person you most want to be happy to be unhappy."
Dept. of Speculation is a terrific book that drew me in with it's unconventional format. I liked how it made me reflect on both the happy times and the miserable times spent as a married couple.  It's a quick read, that I finished in one sweep, but it's one of those books that I'll think about often when memories of marriage come to mind.


4.5/5 stars
(reviiew copy)
Dept. of Speculation is a quick, beautiful read that will draw out joy just as quickly as sadness, and may even cause one to pause and then wonder, and then to finally embrace both the misery and the magic of marriage. - See more at: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/dept-speculation#sthash.slGn6eqZ.dpuf
Dept. of Speculation is a quick, beautiful read that will draw out joy just as quickly as sadness, and may even cause one to pause and then wonder, and then to finally embrace both the misery and the magic of marriage. - See more at: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/dept-speculation#sthash.slGn6eqZ.dpuf
Dept. of Speculation is a quick, beautiful read that will draw out joy just as quickly as sadness, and may even cause one to pause and then wonder, and then to finally embrace both the misery and the magic of marriage. - See more at: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/dept-speculation#sthash.slGn6eqZ.dpuf

11 comments:

  1. This book is already on my wish list, but I'm moving it to the top now!

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  2. Hadn't heard of this before. It sounds like my kind of read and I'm adding it to my TBR list asap.

    My Sunday post: http://www.bookclublibrarian.com/2014/04/weekly-book-recap-64.html

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  3. That could be mighty interesting!

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  4. I love the points you presented. This sounds like a terrific book!

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  5. Wow. I haven't heard of this book, but thank for your review. I really like more realistic books about marriage.

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  6. This does sound thoughtful and interesting. Very nice review, Diane.

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  7. Sounds lovely, and I bet many of us wives and mothers would be tempted to choose an alone time as our happiest.

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  8. I'm in the hold queue at the library for this one and very much looking forward to it.

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  9. I read it in one sitting but have been thinking about it for weeks.

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  10. I must read this! This looks exactly like the kind of story I love.

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