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Dept of Speculation

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Hat they have lost what is left and what they want now Written with the dazzling lucidity of poetry Dept of Speculation navigates the jagged edges of a modern marriage to tell a story that is darkly funny surprising and wise. There are so many novels which are really memoirs but are given to us as novels because memoirs are like “oh what makes you think your life is so interesting I might want to read about it” and novels are “yay A new novel”I will bet one thousand of my British poundsthat Jenny Offill really did have a bug infestation in her apartment and really did have a daughter who broke both her wrists Novels I read recently which are really also memoirs are A uestion of Upbringing The Wallcreeper The Adventures of Augie March The Naked and the Dead Voyage in the Dark the list could go on and onIt’s true that calling your memoir a novel allows you to have a lot fun with the facts as in you don’t have to stick to them And some sharp arts reporter won’t be able to Frey you alive I read that JO’s agent said “this isn’t a novel it’s an x ray of a novel” Yes that’s right The main characters have no names and all the main events have to be inferred but that’s not hard as it’s a banal tale of adultery which is why JO did it this way It’s written in teeny paragraphs some of which are uotations from famous brainiacs of the past And the mother is called The Mother and the baby is called The Baby Reviewers like its brilliant originality but we have seen these elements before in Wittgenstein’s Mistress by David Markson 1988 and in a long and great story by Lorrie Moore called “People Like That are the Only People Here” And maybe elsewhere too heck I ain’t read everything I could prove this to you by means of uotations but I don't mean to be meanIt was very sad It was full of stuff like this The wife sits in the backyard with binoculars She is trying to learn about the birds She has seen robins and sparrows and wrens A green throated hummingbird She wants to know the name of the black bird with the red wings She looks it up It is a red winged blackbirdThat reminded me of the flocks of sparrows which used to descend in the back garden of my childhood when we used to throw out breadcrumbs for them The common house sparrow Nottingham was full of them you never gave them a thought they were just there Now you don’t see a single one from January to December I don’t know why Was it something we said

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They used to send each other letters The return address was always the same Dept of Speculation They used to be young brave and giddy with hopes for their future They got married had a child and skated through all the small. I underlined basically the entire novel Mermaids young brave and giddy with hopes for their future They got married had a child and skated through all the small. I underlined basically the entire novel

Jenny Offill ↠ 5 Download

Calamities of family life But then slowly uietly something changes As the years rush by fears creep in and doubts accumulate until finally their life as they know it cracks apart and they find themselves forced to reassess w. But what if I`m special What if I`m in the minority As stated in the blurb I did not find this book to be a portrait of marriage but instead it was like being in someone's mind and heart and getting an unfiltered raw and original account of everything being thought of Each chapter in fact even most of the paragraphs within the chapters in Dept of Speculation are unrelated and kind of disjointed And this way of narration made this book interesting In some God is portrayed as a father in others as a mother When God is a father he is said to be elsewhere When God is a mother she is said to be everywhere Hellbourne (Hellbourne, years rush by fears creep in and doubts accumulate until finally their life as they know it cracks apart and they find themselves forced to reassess w. But what if I`m special What if I`m in the minority As stated in the blurb I did not find this book to be a portrait of marriage but instead it was like being in someone's mind and heart and getting an unfiltered raw and original account of everything being thought of Each chapter in fact even most of the paragraphs within the chapters in Dept of Speculation are unrelated and kind of disjointed And this way of narration made this book interesting In some God is portrayed as a father in others as a mother When God is a father he is said to be elsewhere When God is a mother she is said to be everywhere


10 thoughts on “Dept of Speculation

  1. says:

    I underlined basically the entire novel


  2. says:

    6 starsI'm doing my inarticulate book clutching thing


  3. says:

    ‘ If you are tired of everything you possess imagine that you have lost all these things’John Berryman once wrote ‘ let all flowers wither like a party’ Nothing lasts even the things we love most and nurture and care for must pass but this is not cause for sadness but merely a reason to look into each moment and let ourselves feel the emotion coursing through them Dept of Speculation by Jenny Offill writer of the marvelous children’s book and staple of my daughter’s bedtime routine Sparky delivers an emotionally charged account of adulthood across marriage childrearing and the pains of infidelity that opens wide each moment to explore the blood of life within Reminiscent of Renata Adler’s Speedboat Offill offers brief snippets of life as lived that build a beautiful collage of the narrator’s existence Sprinkled with scientific facts philosophical uandaries and literary uotes Offill does well by avoiding a straightforward surface telling of story in Dept of Speculation that instead progresses through abstract connections to better occupy the mind and soul of her narrator; a wonderful approach that unfortunately feels a bit stale and preoccupied with accessibility and emotion rather than depth and beauty ‘ There are 60 seconds in a minute 60 minutes in an hour 24 hours in a day 7 days in a week 52 weeks in a year and X years in a life Solve for X’ Dept of Speculation is uite a charming little novel full of great spirit and humor It feels very alive very close and always tugging the heart strings I particularly enjoyed the moments involving the baby daughter and the wonderment watching all her eccentricities as she begins to age and the way Offill constructs and immediacy to this uniue window into the world around us The style keeps us locked within the narrator and all her own uirks learning to empathize and understand her through examples of life which keeps us connected when the bottom drops out for her after her husband’s infidelity There is a sudden shift from the ‘I’ to the third person— ‘the wife’ and ‘the husband’—which pulls the reader from such closeness to a colder impersonal perspective as she too finds herself on the outside of her own life Subtlety and the unspoken meanings inherent in techniue are of the many positive techniues employed by Offill that help the novel shimmer Rarely is anything ever direct and it is typically through abstract association that the reader is able to deduce the truth behind the events that transpire Even then the story is never fully formed and the readers imagination must commingle with the narrator’s inward observations to flesh out the story through a cooperative effort that further connects the reader to the character The husband’s affair is never plainly stated at first and it is the story of Carl Sagan leaving his wife for Ann Druyan while working on the Voyager Golden Record that supplies the context to be assumed when the husband and wife reach a breaking point¹ Other things are not so suble such as the bedbug infestation in the couples first apartment being a foreshadowing of parasites in the marriage bed but these metaphors still work wonderfullyThe style with the uick snippets of life interspersed with facts and uotes reads like David Markson lite While the style does help investigate the character from an abstract perspective that feels very intimate it also feels as if it is used for the sake of seeming experimental than actually being experimental Speculation toys with po mo techniues without really being po mo itself the novel is rather straight forward despite the impression of not being so and seems to be akin to the way David Mitchell takes popular fiction plots and bridges them towards a literary bent Which isn’t a complaint necessarily an observation that the style is flashy than substantial and has been done many times before and done better Perhaps if the book didn’t continuously feel like it was focused on plot and pushing the plot forward with a bit too heavy of a hand than the philosophical ideas presented The uotes and facts seem there for charm and uirkiness than to provide actual depth; the factoids used are like the sort of things you read on a cereal box fun and thought provoking but not very functional Offill seems to recognize this and keeps things fun and provides a few metafictional aspects of the character seemingly writing this story from scraps of paper she scrawls in times of stress² She also attempts to keep the story feeling relatable through very modern and non affected writing that often has the feel of reading someones Facebook statuses They are full of snarky charm cursing pop culture phrases and other ‘normal person in the real world’ collouialisms At times it made me wish she could spin a better phrase that would cut to the core but it was used consistently and helped create a believable character‘ She thinks before she acts Or properly she thinks instead of acts A character flaw not a virtue’ Dept of Speculation is a uick read that takes the reader by the heart through the narrator’s adulthood of trials and tribulations While it is not uite the work of brilliance than many have championed it the book is also nowhere near as bad as its detractors have claimed and it is still a powerful book despite a few minor grievances Offill does well to pull at the heart strings though this does often seem a novel that forces you to feel the emotion rather than let the emotion rise up naturally The style is rather engaging and allows for a fun and insightful look into the character and her world but feels stale but Offill covers this staleness up with rich warm emotional butter to still pull off a palatable treat of fiction 355' But now it seems possible that the truth about getting older is that there are fewer and fewer things to make fun of until finally there is nothing you are sure you will never be'¹ There is an irony that the narrator finds Carl and Ann’s story to be romantic despite knowing it involved a double infidelity yet cannot apply the same perspective towards her husband’s affair ‘ The only love that feels like love is the doomed kind Fun fact’ Perhaps this also comments on the shift from first to third person as she sees an affair is easier to gloss over from the outside² Perhaps I had read both Adler’s Speedboat and Luiselli’s Faces in the Crowd too soon before this one and Speculation fades from the comparison However this book shares many key aspects of both such as the scrap writing or being friends with a philosopher like the narrator in Faces Which is a problem with this book it just feels like the heartfelt moments of many other books all blended into one without taking any of these elements into a fresh direction or perspective


  4. says:

    The subject of this book is the same as Elena Ferrante's The Days of Abandonment the husband strays yet the writing couldn't have been handled differently To write like Ferrante you need a grasp of literatureTo write like Offill you need an American education and access to the internet Ferrante wears her education lightly there are little if any references to great writersOffill doesn't let you forget who she's in touch withOffill talks a lot about artFerrante asks you to judge whether she's succeeding at it Ferrante's bad behavior is understandable given the contextOffill's bad behavior is without context expecting you to take it on faithFerrante's narrator is in contact with people who are strangersThere are no people outside of Offill's privileged circle the few that get a mention are dispatched in a line or twoOffill's use of profanity is meant to show that we're not dealing with a total suare Don't cook don't fuck what do you do?Ferrante's use of profanity comes with a threat of real violenceFerrante embeds her irony in the spaces of a paragraph enriching the story with this bedrockOffill is not unlike most of our generation if you cannot express irony in the snappy one liner it's nowhere to be foundOffill speaks honestly to be understoodFerrante speaks honestly because the truth of what happened is importantOffill's anger knows the law will eventually back her up things just aren't working out right now That's the source of her humor or why she is so funny according to the blurbsFerrante's anger knows that there's no safety net for these intermittences of the heart Offill believes that Zen Buddhism is a philosophy about achieving one's peace of mindFerrante understands that Zen is a place in Japan or put it this way an ability to accept anything that comes your way including death A fragment in Ferrante's mind are the spaces that can never be filledA fragment in Offill's mind are places awaiting their facts never to be connected of course that would be too ironicalFerrante understands that sympathy is as fickle as a husbandOffill hopes the husband will eventually come aroundTo sympathize with Ferrante is to understand something important about women's consciousnessTo sympathize with Offill is to leave that part out of the euationOffill writes like she'll be admired once her book comes outFerrante writes like the only thing that can admire you is time


  5. says:

    But what if I`m special? What if I`m in the minority? As stated in the blurb I did not find this book to be a portrait of marriage but instead it was like being in someone's mind and heart and getting an unfiltered raw and original account of everything being thought of Each chapter in fact even most of the paragraphs within the chapters in Dept of Speculation are unrelated and kind of disjointed And this way of narration made this book interesting In some God is portrayed as a father in others as a mother When God is a father he is said to be elsewhere When God is a mother she is said to be everywhere


  6. says:

    Essentially Offill carries out a kind of emotional autopsy on a young woman trying to divide her energies between bringing up a young child and keeping a husband happy without sacrificing her commitment to succeeding as a writer The original format of this novel – it’s written as a kind of literary scrapbook of musings uotes and insights reminded me at times of Fellini’s brilliant film about the fount of inspiration 8 ½ Like the film director in Fellini’s film Offill’s writer is bereft of inspiration which sets her on an odyssey to sift through the rubble of her past in search of nuggets of insight One of the many brilliant vignettes is her discovery that her baby who rarely stops crying finds solace under very bright fluorescent lights This means she takes him to the corner store every day and just idles away inside for as long as possible without drawing too much attention to herself It’s such a brilliant dramatization of how much time motherhood demands you waste The early years of motherhood are not an uninterrupted crooning of delight But she does the delight too and does it very well The same goes for her cheating husband – “The thing is this Even if the husband leaves her in this awful craven way she will still have to count it as a miracle all of those happy years she spent with him” She achieves the clarity of inspiration – she can see every event from all sides It loses a star for me because I began to feel it lost momentum towards the end The novel deserved a daring and satisfactory denouement To use an Olympic simile it came charging out of the blocks but cramped up a bit in the final lap


  7. says:

    Indulging in my love of audio books has become challenging since I uit my job and no longer have a two and a half hour commute to get lost in a dreamy book I've taken to having a special ME day once a week The ritual revolves around my complicated and needy hair The process of pre shampooing washing deep conditioning detangling and finally braiding my hair into tiny segments occupies about 3 4 hours sometimes I used to put it off until I absolutely had a knotted mess on my hands I decided to use this time to get back into my audio book routine It's helped tremendously I enjoy my day get some reading in and if the book is especially good I'll find other things I need to tweak just to keep listening like a manicure andor pedicure or even attending to my larger than life eyebrows This short little book consumed my whole morning today Even late into tonight I'm still pondering why I loved it so much The lame comeback? This stuff is real Reminds me of why I love Bergman films especially the tortourous Scenes From a Marriage It's real Focusing on the protagonist's life before marriage after marriage motherhood and the complications from imperfect relationships I was especially drawn to the wife's constant choice of family over career Her inner doubts about being a good wife mom sister and friend touched me deeply I fell in love with her character and just wanted to extend a huge hug You're not alone and you can and will get through this kept running through my mind as I pulled my comb through my fastidious curls Summation read this book then let's talk


  8. says:

    “She thinks before she acts Or properly she thinks instead of acts A character flaw not a virtue” Dept Of Speculation is a short novel of a marriage It's told in 46 chapters composed of short paragraphs and almost aphoristic lines and uotes in 160 compact pages The narrator the Wife goes from being a young woman who considers being an Art Monster a person who lives solely for the creation of their art to a wife and a mother It's set mostly in Brooklyn but that shouldn't be held against it It's not one of those Park Slope mommy books that seem to be a thing lately I had mixed feelings about this book I found much of the writing to be great and the individual lines and paragraphs to be interesting sometimes in that fleeting kind of 'you are saying something exactly that I've thought about before' kind of way sort of in a less gloom filled way that reading EM Cioran can be But I had a hard time feeling involved in the story itself the characters the Wife the Husband the Daughter and the other nameless characters never felt like than wisps of ideas “How has she become one of those people who wears yoga pants all day? She used to make fun of those people With their happiness maps and their gratitude journals and their bags made out of recycled tire treads But now it seems possible that the truth about getting older is that there are fewer and fewer things to make fun of until finally there is nothing you are sure you will never be”


  9. says:

    There are so many novels which are really memoirs but are given to us as novels because memoirs are like “oh what makes you think your life is so interesting I might want to read about it?” and novels are “yay A new novel”I will bet one thousand of my British poundsthat Jenny Offill really did have a bug infestation in her apartment and really did have a daughter who broke both her wrists Novels I read recently which are really also memoirs are A uestion of Upbringing The Wallcreeper The Adventures of Augie March The Naked and the Dead Voyage in the Dark the list could go on and onIt’s true that calling your memoir a novel allows you to have a lot fun with the facts as in you don’t have to stick to them And some sharp arts reporter won’t be able to Frey you alive I read that JO’s agent said “this isn’t a novel it’s an x ray of a novel” Yes that’s right The main characters have no names and all the main events have to be inferred but that’s not hard as it’s a banal tale of adultery which is why JO did it this way It’s written in teeny paragraphs some of which are uotations from famous brainiacs of the past And the mother is called The Mother and the baby is called The Baby Reviewers like its brilliant originality but we have seen these elements before in Wittgenstein’s Mistress by David Markson 1988 and in a long and great story by Lorrie Moore called “People Like That are the Only People Here” And maybe elsewhere too heck I ain’t read everything I could prove this to you by means of uotations but I don't mean to be meanIt was very sad It was full of stuff like this The wife sits in the backyard with binoculars She is trying to learn about the birds She has seen robins and sparrows and wrens A green throated hummingbird She wants to know the name of the black bird with the red wings She looks it up It is a red winged blackbirdThat reminded me of the flocks of sparrows which used to descend in the back garden of my childhood when we used to throw out breadcrumbs for them The common house sparrow Nottingham was full of them you never gave them a thought they were just there Now you don’t see a single one from January to December I don’t know why Was it something we said?


  10. says:

    Ten Reasons Why You Should Read This Extraordinary Book10 Because it has one of the coolest back cover endorsements by Michael Cunningham you will ever see9 Because by reading you will challenge this 1896 advice to wives uoted in the book The indiscriminate reading of novels is one of the most injurious habits to which a married woman can be subject Besides the false views of human nature it will impart it produces an indifference to the performance of domestic duties and contempt for ordinary realities 8 Because at 160 pages it is compact provocative healing and lethal7 Because the narrator is smart funny offbeat and very real despite not being given a name6 Because the tiny paragraphs of which it is composed—points to ponder fragments of feeling—are far hit than miss and their apparent randomness conceals a cumulative power that will take you by surprise5 Because you will learn than you have ever forgotten about the history of space exploration not to mention the long distance vision of antelopes and attempts to photograph the human soul but the space that Offill herself explores is inside her4 Because it perfectly captures the exasperation tedium and unbounded joy of being at home with a new baby3 Because sneaking upon you unawares it tells the inside story of an ordinary good marriage the shock of adultery and the terrible period afterwards when everything hangs in the balance2 Because it contains and exemplifies this uotation from Rilke Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger of having gone through an experience all the way to the end to where no one can go any further 1 Because when all is said and done it is just so heartbreakingly beautiful


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