Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

More a stream of consciousness than a true narrative novel, this small volume offers one view of a marriage - in fits and starts, with pieces missing, and up to your read-between-the-lines interpretation.

The wife tells this story, presented in a kind of journal. In short bites - one or two paragraphs - she give her view: her thoughts, anecdotes, and her side of the story. She's not telling the reader about her life, it's more like she's talking to herself, writing notes in her journal, putting thoughts and emotions to the pen. This means a lot is left for you the reader to assume and infer.

She (the narrator-wife is never named) talks about her students and her child, but the book is really more about her relationship with her husband and her internal dialog.

It's a hard book to explain, and I'm finding it hard to even summarize what I thought. I felt a little voyeuristic, reading about her marriage and thoughts this way. Also, probably lots of deep meaning if you think about it ... but I didn't.

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