I’m almost certain someone once said that good things come in small packages. It might well have been my mum giving me a pep talk one day. In the case of Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation this is certainly true.
In its small novella format, this narrative packs a serious punch (right where it hurts). Look – a warning to those who prefer uplifting reads – this might not be your feel-good, love-conquers-all story; but its rawness, grimness and originality had yours truly hooked from the first page.
With her finely tuned style, and practised techniques, Jenny Offill is one of those clever authors whose prose makes you feel as though you’re in capable hands. And as the life of her New York-dwelling (somewhat passive) protagonist unravels, Jenny’s storytelling capabilities shine. I read this over two flights (on a plane, not flights of stairs), and have barely shut up about it since.
[Granta Books, 2015]
Photography by Lara Messer.