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Author Jenny Offill

Event Type: Book Discussion/Author Event
Age Group(s): Adult (19 and up)
Date: 5/10/2014
Start Time: 3:00 PM
End Time: 5:00 PM
 Join us for a reading by writer Jenny Offill.

Offill's new novel, Dept. of Speculation (2013), 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.

The book's heroine, referred to 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.

Her debut novel, Last Things (1999), was chosen as a notable book of the year by The New York Times and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times First Book Award. She has also written three books for children.

This is a free event, open to everyone, and made possible by the generosity of the Friends of the Library.
Library: Headquarters Library Branch    Headquarters Library Branch
Location: Meeting Room A