Offill's slender and cannily paced novel, her second, assembles fragments, observations, meditations and different points of view to chart the course of a troubled marriage. Wry and devastating in equal measure, the novel is a cracked mirror that throws light in every direction - on music and literature; science and philosophy; marriage and motherhood and infidelity; and especially love and the grueling rigors of domestic life. Part elegy and part primal scream, it's a profound and unexpectedly buoyant performance -- 10 Best Books of the Year * The New York Times * Jenny Offill's 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 With exceptional originality, intensity and sweetness [...] Dept. of Speculation is 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 -- John Self * Guardian * A heartbreaking and exceptional book by a writer who doesn't settle for less... Sad, funny, philosophical, at once deeply poetic and deeply engaging, this is a brilliant, soulful elegy to the hardships and joys of married life -- Lydia Millet, author * My Happy Life * In this slim, beautiful work, the short paragraphs read as a series of carefully crafted vignettes, linked yet strong enough to stand alone... It is about life, unvarnished, yet every bit of it made profound by Offill's glorious prose -- Isabel Berwick * Financial Times * [A] fascinating examination of the complexity of the female writer's post-childbirth experience of work as well as an astute, unsentimental portrayal of a foundering marriage -- Eimear McBride 'Books of the Year' * Guardian * Dept. of Speculation is 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, author * The Fun Parts * Written with such clarity and poetry... at times almost unbearably moving. And yet it has some intensely funny and witty moments too -- Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett * 'Books of the Year' Guardian * I have read and re-read Dept. of Speculation. It manages to reinvent the whole medium of the novel. And that's certainly not something you see every day. Ingenious, moving and refreshing -- Maggie O'Farrell 'Books of the Year' * Sunday Herald * A novel that... glitters with different emotional colors... It's often extremely funny and often painful... its depth and intensity make a stealthy purchase on the reader -- James Wood * New Yorker * Dense with intelligence and life... Offill is incisive on the pleasures, terrors and frustrations of parenthood... [She] reveals depth and beauty in small, mundane things -- David Wolf * Prospect * A tiny gem of a read... A delicate yet harmonious examination of love, beautifully written and engaging... Funny, sad and clever, the best book I've read in a long time * Stylist ***** * This delicious sliver of a book does what only the best epistolary novels can: it forces the heart and mind into direct contact, one lush, lovely line at a time. I've found not only a new beloved author in Offill but also a witty new friend in the wife. -- Taiye Selasi Offill's writing is exquisitely honed and vibrant * Library Journal * Observed moments of boredom, joy and terror are the triumph of this novel, spilling panic, pain and confusion of marriage and motherhood on to the page.... Brilliant -- Beth Jones * Sunday Telegraph **** * Popping prose and touching vignettes of marriage and motherhood fill [this book]... Offill has equal parts cleverness and erudition, but it
JENNY OFFILL is the author of Last Things (Bloomsbury, 1999) which was chosen as notable or best book of the year by the Guardian, the New York Times, the Village Voice, and was a finalist for the LA Times First Fiction Prize. She teaches Creative Writing at Columbia University, and is on the faculty at Brooklyn College and Queens University of Charlotte.