Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

Dept. of Speculation is a portrait of a marriage. It is also a beguiling rumination on the mysteries of intimacy, trust, faith, knowledge, and the condition of universal shipwreck that unites us all. Jenny Offill’s heroine, referred to in these pages as simply “the wife,” once exchanged love letters with her husband postmarked Dept. of Speculation, their code name for all the uncertainty that inheres in life and in the strangely fluid confines of a long relationship. As they confront an array of common catastrophes—a colicky baby, a faltering marriage, stalled ambitions—the wife analyzes her predicament, invoking everything from Keats and Kafka to the thought experiments of the Stoics to the lessons of doomed Russian cosmonauts. She muses on the consuming, capacious experience of maternal love, and the near total destruction of the self that ensues from it as she confronts the friction between domestic life and the seductions and demands of art. With cool precision, in language that shimmers with rage and wit and fierce longing, Jenny Offill has crafted an exquisitely suspenseful love story that has the velocity of a train hurtling through the night at top speed. Exceptionally lean and compact, Dept. of Speculation is a novel to be devoured in a single sitting, though its bracing emotional insights and piercing meditations on despair and love will linger long after the last page.

- Google

The 897th greatest fiction book of all time

This book is on the following lists:

  1. - 6th on A Premature Attempt at the 21st Century Canon (Vulture)
  2. - The New Vanguard (New York Times)

Buy This Book

Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
Dept. of Speculation Audible Audiobook 147297 $18.38 2021
Dept. of Speculation (Vintage Contemporaries) Kindle Edition 116454 2014
Dept. of Speculation Hardcover 551355 $27.86 $1.75 2014
Dept. of Speculation Paperback 6019119 $7.93 $4.33
Dept. of Speculation Audio CD 14898758 $55.99 $4.99 2014
Departamento de especulaciones (Spanish Edition) Paperback 5264968 $19.75 $19.94 2017
Dept. of Speculation Hardcover 1198545 $26.20 $7.00 2014
Dept. of Speculation (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback 50643 $10.69 $1.38 2014