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Dept. of Speculation (2014)

af Jenny Offill

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,5651238,455 (3.71)128
Kort roman om en kvinde med kunstneriske ambitioner, der ædes op af moder-, ægte- og utroskab. Et eksistentielt drama med en særlig fragmenteret skrivestil.
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» Se også 128 omtaler

Engelsk (120)  Spansk (2)  Catalansk (1)  Alle sprog (123)
Viser 1-5 af 123 (næste | vis alle)
Dept. of Speculation felt like a daily journal of a woman who was in the pursuit of balancing her life as a wife, a mother, and a writer. She narrated her musings in the form of despair, happiness and struggles that transpired in her life. She took us through her journey where she experienced vicissitudes of her relationship. It is a profoundly sad read which illustrated a crippling relationship and challenges of parenthood. All the characters were beautifully portrayed.

Jenny Offill's way of throwing in quotes from renowned poets/writers/persons was the icing on the cake which facilitated connecting the dots of her narration. Honestly, I am low-key jealous of this attribute of her. I loved every bit of her narration where she mentioned about the precious moments she shared with her daughter. Especially when she mentioned something along the lines of "smell of baby hair", it made me nostalgic about the moments I shared with my siblings during their infancy. I don't know why but, the smell of babies are so different.

However, the narration started off sporadically. It was difficult to connect with the characters, her emotions, and the reasons behind them. Except some of the excerpts, Jenny's narration was sensational until the ending fell flat. I was anticipating something more towards the end of the story. I am still pondering over the following questions: Did the wife and her husband get back together? Or did they have their share of precious last moments before parting their ways? Were those precious last moments enough to rekindle the lost love between each other? What about their daughter and her happiness? Would she be able to understand the new relationship dynamics of her parents? ( )
  pabitralenka | May 19, 2021 |
Told through snippets that don't always have a distinct connection, this book is a short narrative of a young writer, mother and her marriage. I usually like this sort of storytelling. But with this one, the snippets are SO short and sometimes SO disconnected, that it is tougher for me to connect with this book. There were lovely moments and Offill can definitely write some mean, succinct snippets! But with a longer book and longer snippets, it would have hit harder for me. Some other examples of novels told through the snippet form... (but honestly with longer snippets...at least half page long, so it makes better sense to me with better connections): 'On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous' by Ocean Vuong, 'A Line Made by Walking' by Sara Baume, and 'Goodbye, Vitamin' by Rachel Khong. If you like this one, give these three a try! Are you sick of the word "snippet" yet?
Book #110 of the Morning News Tournament of Books ( )
  booklove2 | Apr 5, 2021 |
A very quick read about a family and a marriage - a lot to think about in a short book. ( )
  ChetBowers | Mar 10, 2021 |
I didn't love this at first. It seemed a little off-hand, maybe a little cute, at times like something you'd read in a clever blog post, which is great for a blog post but not necessarily great for a book rumored to be one of the better reads of 2014. At about the halfway point, as things began to unravel, I liked it more. The book became not a series of rambly inconsequential musings but a document of suffering and coping, which I had an easier time taking seriously and figuring was worth my time.

Often enough, Offill says true things in ways that couldn't be said in a truer way. I don't know how much they'd resonate with the childless or the unmarried, though.

I'm glad I read it and really wish I could give out 3.5 stars, or maybe 3.7. It's not quite a 4 for me, but it's certainly more than a 3. I like a little more heft -- a word count maybe an order of magnitude greater -- in a book that plumbs the sort of stuff this book ultimately plumbs. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
sad and beautifully written ( )
  nsol | Dec 21, 2020 |
Viser 1-5 af 123 (næste | vis alle)
Offill’s brief book eschews obvious grandeur. It does not broadcast its accomplishments for the cosmos but tracks the personal and domestic and local, a harrowed inner space. It concentrates its mass acutely, pressing down with exquisite and painful precision, like a pencil tip on the white of the nail.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerThe New Yorker, James Wood (Mar 24, 2014)
 
Dept. of Speculation is a riposte to the notion that domestic fiction is humdrum and unambitious. From the point of view of an unnamed American woman, it gives us the hurrahs and boos of daily life, of marriage and of parenthood, 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.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerThe Guardian, John Self (Mar 14, 2014)
 
Offill is a smart writer with a canny sense of pacing; just when you want to abandon the fragmented puzzle pieces of the novel, she reveals a moment of breathtaking tenderness ... especially engaging when it describes new motherhood ... For better or worse, this is not so much a book about their marriage; it is a book about the wife’s marriage. It would be interesting to read the other story to this marriage, to know more of the husband, the father — but Offill still makes it seem as if the wife’s version of the marriage is story enough and, perhaps, the only story that matters.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerNew York Times, Roxane Gay (Feb 7, 2014)
 
From deep within the interiors of a fictional marriage, Offill has crafted an account of matrimony and motherhood that breaks free of the all-too-limiting traditional stories of wives and mothers. There is complexity to the central partnership; Offill folds cynicism into genuine moments of love. It may be difficult to truly know what happens between two people, but Offill gets alarmingly close.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerThe Atlantic, Koa Beck (Jan 29, 2014)
 
Jenny Offill's novel Dept. of Speculation, which weighs in at 192 pages soaking wet and includes a fair amount of white space, is extremely short for a novel. It's an unusual book not only in terms of its size, but also its form. Make no mistake, this is an experimental novel. By which I mean that the narrative isn't a series of flowing scenes that keep you reassuringly grounded in plot, but a collection of vignettes, observations and quirky details that are sometimes pulled from real life.... Offill has successfully met the challenge she seems to have given herself: write only what needs to be written, and nothing more. No excess, no flab. And do it in a series of bulletins, fortune-cookie commentary, mordant observations, lyrical phrasing. And through these often disparate and disconnected means, tell the story of the fragile nature of anyone's domestic life.
 

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But the smell of her hair. The way she clasped her hand around my fingers. This was like medicine. For once, I didn’t have to think. The animal was ascendant.
The Buddhists say there are 121 states of consciousness. Of these, only three involve misery or suffering. Most of us spend our time moving back and forth between these three.
Studies suggest that reading makes enormous demands on the neurological system. One psychiatric journal claimed that African tribes needed more sleep after being taught to read. The French were great believers in such theories. During World War II, the largest rations went to those engaged in arduous physical labor and those whose work involved reading and writing.
The reason to have a home is to keep certain people in and everyone else out. A home has a perimeter. But sometimes our perimeter was breached by neighbors, by Girl Scouts, by Jehovah’s Witnesses. I never liked to hear the doorbell ring. None of the people I liked ever turned up that way.
And that phrase—“sleeping like a baby.” Some blonde said it blithely on the subway the other day. I wanted to lie down next to her and scream for five hours in her ear.
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Kort roman om en kvinde med kunstneriske ambitioner, der ædes op af moder-, ægte- og utroskab. Et eksistentielt drama med en særlig fragmenteret skrivestil.

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