30 March 2023
Reading Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation
For our second meet, it was decided that we will read Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation. We will do so alongside Alison Chen’s Yield to Them (2017).
Art-making, unlike the great bourgeois panoply of family life, comes without society’s automatic sanction, and is in some ways hostile to it. Offill’s novel offers a kind of resistance report from within occupied territory. —James Wood
The title of Jenny Offill’s celebrated novel “Dept. of Speculation,” from 2014, refers to an old joke between the book’s unnamed protagonist and her husband. “They used to send each other letters,” Offill writes. ‘The return address was always the same: Dept. of Speculation.’ —Lauren Oyler, New Yorker
Our second reading group meeting is coming 30 March 2023 at 8pm EST. For those in Montreal, we will try to meet in person. I’ll send the ZOOM link in a separate email until I figure out how to make this Substack private.
Have you had a chance to pick up the book? The book is available on Archive.org. If you need an e-copy, let me know.
& Jenny Offill writes children’s books! It could be interesting to read an author that does both, and read their children’s work alongside their adult work. She also includes a collection of books that inspired Dept. of Speculation on her website.
I’ll send out another email a week or so before with some more prompts and tidbits about the book, Offill, and Chen.