Dept. of Speculation

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

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This short novel reads like a prose poem, with lots of short, disconnected paragraphs. It’s the story of a marriage bending under the pressures of parenting and career. The writing is soft and understated, with wry humor. Offill captures well the claustrophobia of early motherhood and the testiness of married couples under stress. I liked the narrator’s descriptions of her ambitions to be an “art monster” and marriage counseling as “the Little Theater of Hurt Feelings.” It’s a very quick read, but rewards reading slowly.

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