Jenny Offill || Dept. Of Speculation

It’s not this often I’m at a loss about a novel: do I or don’t I like Dept. Of Speculation? I definitely liked the structure. Offille chose to write her novel in fragments of thought: from start, to miscarriage, to first baby, to infidelity to careful peace in the countryside. She thereby gives her novel speed and a life-like quality. One can imagine someone actually thinking those thoughts. They are interlaced with fragments, quotes from novelists, poets or filosophers. And that is where my problem lies. I tend to read fast, too fast for this one. When I reached the last of 125 pages I was almost surprised to have already finished the novel. I am quite sure that I did not connect all the literary fragments to poetry or filosophy. I suppose a second reading is in order.
Offill did manage to give me a complex image of a marriage in good and bad times, despite the modest length and the fragmentary structure. That is an absolute sign of craftsmanship, Offill knows how to write and structure a novel. My tip: do you want to read this novel? Take your time and read slowly, Dept. Of Speculation deserves it.

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About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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