HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
Loading...

Dept. of Speculation (2014)

by Jenny Offill

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
886859,990 (3.7)103
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 103 mentions

English (81)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (1)  All (84)
Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
Surefire nominee for all the major prizes. ( )
  TimDel | Feb 2, 2017 |
Absolutely beautiful, poetic, resonating, and not at all what I expected it to be. ( )
  beckyrenner | Dec 29, 2016 |
I went to an elaborate wedding once -- an upscale fancy beach wedding in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was beautiful and gorgeous and quite the expensive affair. The reception was at the top of some hotel with "plaza" in the name. Bride was gorgeously decked out, the British groom was dapper, and everyone had a wonderful time. The part I liked best, though, was the best man's speech. These speeches can be either painfully awkward or easily forgettable, but this speech was memorable and funny and thoughtful and very, very British. I asked the groom if I could have a copy of it, I loved it so much for its poignant characterization, its vivid detail, its self-deprecating humor as well as its inspired uniqueness. It was beautiful, it was funny, it was the best part about the reception which was a rather grand, rather fun reception.
Well, I really wish I had pressed for a copy of that speech because that marriage ended after a few years. I imagine they drifted apart in a typical way. The groom was ready to settle down in a smoking jacket and slippers and pipe kind of way. Working all day as a maths teacher at a well-to-do public school in London, I imagine he just wanted to grab a pint at the pub and then tuck in to a healthy meal and then settle in for some physics reading before slumbering the night. But the bride was American and younger and in a big city for the first time -- a big European city -- and partying with London socialites must have been just too tempting to pass up. I spent a year in Oxford and did a lot of partying -- British partying, but still. Who could pass it up?
But now that the groom remarried a Scandinavian, and the bride came back to the States mysteriously pregnant (mysterious to me -- we weren't terribly close), I really wish I had that best man's speech because it is quite the artifact now. The speech that launched a marriage that eventually fizzed out with its stars finding sojourns in other seas.
Dept. of Speculation is about the rise and fall of a marriage between the woman and the husband and their bystander daughter, a philosopher friend, a sister in London, and other bit players and voyeurs. I had a high hopes for this book. It's on so many people's lists for "Best of 2014" but I was left disappointed, wanting more. It's a threadbare coat that won't keep you warm at night. I was expecting prosey artifacts that would allow me to piece together the marriage and the decline, but aside from some oversignifying bedbugs, it doesn't have many of these longed-for artifacts at all. I was expecting something rich and mysterious and interactive like Tim O'Brien's "In the Lake of the Woods" with its seemingly simple evidence chapters and hypotheses, and what I got was more of a creative writing student's post-it notes towards a novel about a disintegrating marriage.
The good part is it's super brief and only takes about two hours to read. ( )
  Virginia-A | Dec 21, 2016 |
Just not my cup of tea at all. While I can appreciate the talent it takes to express feelings and emotions with few words, I just don't enjoy trying to understand it. Call me unsophisticated, but that's just me! ( )
  Iambookish | Dec 14, 2016 |
Quality of Writing: 8.22
Glad you read it?: 7.67
  bookclub4evr | Nov 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
If Rainer Maria Rilke had written a novel about marriage, it might look something like this: a series of paragraphs, seldom exceeding more than a dozen lines, sometimes without much apparent connection to the text on either side.
added by sturlington | editKirkus Reviews (Nov 27, 2013)
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Speculators on the universe...
are no better than madmen.

Socrates
Dedication
For Dave
First words
Antelopes have 10x vision, you said.
Quotations
But the smell of her hair. The way she clasped her hand around my fingers. This was like medicine. For once, I didn’t have to think. The animal was ascendant.
The Buddhists say there are 121 states of consciousness. Of these, only three involve misery or suffering. Most of us spend our time moving back and forth between these three.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385350813, Hardcover)

Dept. of Speculation is a portrait of a marriage. It is also a beguiling rumination on the mysteries of intimacy, trust, faith, knowledge, and the condition of universal shipwreck that unites us all.

Jenny Offill’s heroine, referred to in these pages as simply “the wife,” once exchanged love letters with her husband, postmarked Dept. of Speculation, their code name for all the uncertainty that inheres in life and in the strangely fluid confines of a long relationship. As they confront an array of common catastrophesa colicky baby, bedbugs, a faltering marriage, stalled ambitions—the wife analyzes her predicament, invoking everything from Keats and Kafka to the thought experiments of the Stoics to the lessons of doomed Russian cosmonauts. She muses on the consuming, capacious experience of maternal love, and the near total destruction of the self that ensues from it, as she confronts the friction between domestic life and the seductions and demands of art.

With cool precision, in language that shimmers with rage and wit and fierce longing, Jenny Offill has crafted an exquisitely suspenseful love story that has the velocity of a train hurtling through the night at top speed. Exceptionally lean and compact, Dept. of Speculation can be read in a single sitting, but there are enough bracing emotional insights in these pages to fill a much longer novel. 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:31 -0400)

"Dept. of Speculation is a portrait of a marriage. It is also a beguiling rumination on the mysteries of intimacy, trust, faith, knowledge, and the condition of universal shipwreck that unites us all. Jenny Offill's heroine, referred to in these pages as simply "the wife," once exchanged love letters with her husband, postmarked Dept. of Speculation, their code name for all the uncertainty that inheres in life and in the strangely fluid confines of a long relationship. As they confront an array of common catastrophes--a colicky baby, bedbugs, a faltering marriage, stalled ambitions--the wife analyzes her predicament, invoking everything from Keats and Kafka to the thought experiments of the Stoics to the lessons of doomed Russian cosmonauts. She muses on the consuming, capacious experience of maternal love, and the near total destruction of the self that ensues from it, as she confronts the friction between domestic life and the seductions and demands of art. With cool precision, in language that shimmers with rage and wit and fierce longing, Jenny Offill has crafted an exquisitely suspenseful love story that has the velocity of a train hurtling through the night at top speed. Exceptionally lean and compact, Dept. of Speculation can be read in a single sitting, but there are enough bracing emotional insights in these pages to fill a much longer novel. "--… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
241 wanted6 pay2 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.7)
0.5 1
1 6
1.5 1
2 22
2.5 12
3 68
3.5 33
4 124
4.5 20
5 56

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 113,306,349 books! | Top bar: Always visible