Dept. of Speculation

Dept. of Speculation


This book was my book club’s December/January book. Another author had recommended it. It was different than anything we had read. And for good reason. It was weird. Here’s a little about the book:

In the beginning, it was easy to imagine their future. They were young and giddy, sure of themselves and of their love for each other. “Dept. of Speculation” was their code name for all the thrilling uncertainties that lay ahead. Then they got married, had a child and navigated the familiar calamities of family life—a colicky baby, a faltering relationship, stalled ambitions.

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.

This was a very fast read. I read it in just over an hour. (I had put it off and read it the day of our book club meeting.) The writing style was very different from a typical novel. The sentences were choppy, the paragraphs were brief and characters were referred to by descriptions instead of names. The story itself was a bit depressing about their lives and marriage.

I’m not sure I’d really recommend it because it was hard to find and probably not worth paying lots for. I did find my copy through the library, so it was worth it for me to give it a read.

Happy reading.


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