Dept of Speculation | A Rose in Bloom


Department of Speculation by Jenny Offill is a brief novel soaked with vignettes of real life details, oddities, and observations used to display how fragile domestic life is – as if everything balances on a delicate thread and one fray will send the world spinning. The main characters, simply referred to as “the husband” and “the wife”, lease a home in Brooklyn and begin their new life complete with its emotional side effects and quirks. We see the inner struggles of the wife as she battles depression and a lack of self esteem. We see emotional spirals that everyone is familiar with, though many may dampen that voice. Offill's style is something I can definitely appreciate: she says what needs to be said, nothing more. No flowers, no frills.

I have to say, the most interesting part of this book is it's form: there is no plot, just a collection of little details and thoughts from the wife's perspective. She shares her feelings, her insecurities, and even her love/hate relationship with yoga which no doubt represents her emotional instability. Though this perspective offers few “full” details, part of the fun is that my mind would take the raw material and fill in the blanks. I began to create my own scenarios for the novel as I continued. However, this same tone can also leave you in bewilderment and at times I was confused as to which scenario was currently occurring or who was speaking to the wife.

Surprisingly, there were quite a few funny moments! In particular, Offill referred to the Internet meme I CAN HAZ CHEEZEBURGER, to which the wife later refers to in a moment of cheek and confidence when approached by flirtatious men by thinking I CAN HAS BOYFRIEND?


Overall, the tone of the novel is rather melancholy – the wife battles depression, sees various therapists, suffers a miscarriage, and absorbs the husband's infidelity. Though the infidelity begins to push the wife over the edge, she slowly returns to daily life and begins a new chapter with the husband. I would not say this is a story of forgiveness, more acceptance of life's cards. Nonetheless, it is a very refreshing view of inner turmoil.

7 comments

  1. I love book reviews, it gives me another novel to add to my reading list. And I feel like I need to read this one, though I've had a cloud of melancholy follow me around for a few weeks now so this book could be a blessing or not.

    Sxx
    www.daringcoco.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's an easy read but I understand the feeling - I tend to lean towards melancholy media myself. It's a blessing and a curse.

      Delete
  2. This book sounds interesting! I love when books aren't conventional, so this seems really cool! Thanks for the review!
    ~Sara

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It definitely was not conventional, which is why I was drawn to it in the first place.

      Delete
  3. I like novels that are very real, like this one seems to be. I'd be interested in reading it, although I hope it wouldn't depress me! xx

    http://amateandarottweiler.blogspot.com.ar/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Real. Yep, that's the word. This book felt real. I didn't find it too depressing personally, but I tend to lean towards melancholy art... I mean my favorite band is Bright Eyes after all. If you tend to like realistic, melancholia, you will love this book.

      Delete
  4. Definitely sounds like real life personal situations! HaHaHa
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

    ReplyDelete

I am always happy to hear what you think and will get back to you as soon as I possibly can. Please, do not leave follow for follow or ask me to check out your blog, or any other form of spam. Simply leave a link and I will be happy to look when I get the time. :)

Copyright Elizabeth Hisle. Powered by Blogger.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Instagram