Indie Next ListFebruary 2014
I found myself gasping at the sheer beauty and conciseness of Offill's sentences in this portrait of a marriage. Dept. of Speculation can be devoured quickly, or readers can linger in it over many sittings. Covering the topics of love, loneliness, grief, joy, fidelity, beauty, depression, mania, motherhood, and writing, the shifting points of view are subtle yet profound, and despite the darkness and sadness of the story, when I closed the book I was left more alert and attentive, and feeling more alive. Highly recommended! -- Janet Geddis, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA
""The Wife"" once exchanged love letters with her husband, coyly postmarked the 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 - the arrival of a child and, later, a lover - the Wife puzzles over the mysteries of intimacy, trust, faith, knowledge, and romantic love. With mordant wit, the Wife analyzes her predicament, offering ferocious, wry, often devastating reflections on matrimony, motherhood, artistic ambition, and the condition of universal shipwreck that presents itself to so many of us at midlife.