Dept. of Speculation — Jenny Offill

This small but perfectly-formed book is a simple story of girl meets boy and all the usual things that follow. But it’s told in an unusual way so that I sometimes felt as if I was inside the main character.

The viewpoint changes around a bit, and the tone varies from personal to almost clinical at times. But even so, there is so much insight here, like this heart-rending evocation of the isolation of a new mother whose partner is away during the day:

What did you do today, you’d say when you got home from work, and I’d try my best to craft an anecdote for you out of nothing.

It’s not always the big events that have a big effect: sometimes the smallest thing can make us happy or sad. Life is like that, and so is this book.

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