Fiction: Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Dept. of Speculation book coverIn Jenny Offill’s slim, yet rich, second novel, a narrator known only as “the wife” details love’s dizzying beginnings, the leap of faith into marriage and parenthood, and the disorienting effects of a crumbling relationship—all in stream-of-consciousness bites both deeply personal and relatable. She teaches creative writing, her husband creates soundtracks for commercials, and their daughter rages, seemingly at war with the world. The wife’s mental health is precarious; though desperately in love with her small family, she feels unmoored. An infestation of bed bugs comes like a nightmare of a climax. And then there’s crushing betrayal. For fans of brutally honest domestic drama and protagonists oozing self-awareness, Dept. of Speculation will prove a compelling, quick, heartrending read.