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    9780385350815 Hardback, $24.95 CAD 9780385351027 Electronic book text, EPUB
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    Distributor: Penguin Random House Availability: Available On Sale Date: Oct 07, 2014 Carton Quantity: 24
  • Catalogues

Vintage Contemporaries
Dept. of Speculation
By (author): Jenny Offill
9780345806871 Paperback, Trade English General Trade FICTION / Literary Oct 07, 2014
$21.95 CAD
Active 5.15 x 7.98 x 0.6 in 192 pages Vintage
 
International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2016, Short-listed PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction 2014, Short-listed
From the acclaimed author of Last Things comes a slim, stunning portrait of a marriage—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, a writer called simply “the wife,” once exchanged love letters with her husband. The return address was always the same: the Dept. of Speculation, their code phrase for all the uncertainty that inheres in life and in the strangely fluid confines of a long relationship. As the wife gives an account of her everyday trials—bedbugs, a faltering marriage, a colicky baby, stalled ambitions—she builds a rich world through the accumulation of simple sentences and diverse allusions, pulling in everything from 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 demands of art.

In spare language that shimmers with rage and longing and wit, Jenny Offill has crafted an exquisitely suspenseful love story: Dept. of Speculation can easily be read in a single sitting, but it holds the emotional depth of a much longer novel.

Publication History: Knopf hardcover: January 2014

Jenny Offill is the author of the novel Last Things, which was chosen as a Notable Book of the year by The New York Times and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Book Award.

Author Residence: Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY

Author Hometown: Massachusetts

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Author Website: jennyoffill.com

Author Social Media: Twitter: @jennyoffill (not active)

“Shimmering. . . . Breathtaking. . . . Joyously demanding.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Slender, quietly smashing. . . . A book so radiant, so sparkling with sunlight and sorrow, that it almost makes a person gasp.” —The Boston Globe

“Powerful. . . . Exquisite. . . . A novel that’s wonderfully hard to encapsulate, because it faces in many directions at the same time, and glitters with different emotional colors.” —The New Yorker

“A startling feat of storytelling . . . Each line a dazzling, perfectly chiseled arrowhead aimed at your heart.” —Vanity Fair

Dept. of Speculation resembles no book I’ve read before. If I tell you that it’s funny, and moving, and true; that it’s as compact and mysterious as a neutron; that it tells a profound story of love and parenthood while invoking (among others) Keats, Kafka, Einstein, Russian cosmonauts, and advice for the housewife of 1897, will you please simply believe me, and read it?” —Michael Cunningham

“You can read Jenny Offill’s new novel in about two hours. It’s short and funny and absorbing, an effortless-seeming downhill ride that picks up astonishing narrative speed as it goes.” —The New York Review of Books

“Gorgeous, funny, a profound and profoundly moving work of art. Jenny Offill is a master of form and feeling, and she gets life on the page in new, startling ways.” —Sam Lipsyte

“Introspective and resonant. . . . Offill uses her novel to explore the question of how to be an artist as well as a wife and mother, when these states can feel impossibly contradictory.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Absorbing and highly readable. . . . Intriguing, beautifully written, sly, and often profound.” —NPR

“Audacious . . . Hilarious . . . . An account of matrimony and motherhood that breaks free of the all-too-limiting traditional stories of wives and mothers. . . . It may be difficult to truly know what happens between two people, but Offill gets alarmingly close.” —The Atlantic

“Piercingly honest. . . . A series of wry vignettes that deepen movingly.” —Vogue

Dept. of Speculation is a riposte to the notion that domestic fiction is humdrum and unambitious. . . . A shattered novel that stabs and sparkles at the same time. It is the kind of book that you will be quoting over and over to friends who don’t quite understand, until they give in and read it too. . . . A book this sad shouldn't be so much fun to read. ” —The Guardian (London)

“Whip-smart, defying description, will bring your walls down around you.” —Flavorwire

“[A] mini marvel of a novel. . . . Unfolds in tart, tiny chapters suffused with pithy philosophical musings, scientific tidbits, and poetic sayings that collectively guide a brainy, beleaguered couple through the tricky emotional terrain of their once wondrous, now wobbly union.” —Elle

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