An unflinching portrait of marriage features a heroine simply referred to as "the Wife," who transitions from an idealistic woman who once exchanged love letters with her husband and who confronts an array of universal difficulties.
Jenny Offill's new book, Dept. of Speculation, uses anecdotes and bits of poetry to tell a nonlinear story of love, parenthood and infidelity. Offill tells NPR's Rachel Martin that her experiences as a mother inspired the book — but that her own marriage is far less dramatic than the one in her novel.
Jenny Offill's sparse and experimental novel Dept. of Speculation is a reminder that bigger isn't always better. Through short vignettes, Offill builds a narrative about an unnamed husband and wife. It's a sly, profound glimpse into a fragile domestic sphere — and, while the form may be unusual, the book is highly readable.