Dept. of Speculation – Jenny Offill

14 May

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After finishing off both ‘True Grit’ and ‘The Humans’ travelling on the train to London for work a little while ago I was left without a book for the return journey.  Under pressure of time constraints and in need of something to read I picked this up.  I’ll be honest, I based the choice entirely on the fact I loved the film ‘The Adjustment Bureau.’  There is literally no logic behind this other than there is something about the titles that suggested they could…maybe….be of a similar interest.

As it happens, they are nothing alike.  While The Adjustment Bureau is a film about the agents of fate conspiring to ensure life’s plan works to schedule, this novel depicts the realities of married life and raising a family.  The narrative develops through a series of punchy fragments which feel like we are following the train of thought of the unnamed storyteller working through her memories.  At first I found this a little sporadic and difficult to follow but as I settled into the book I thought it worked very well and it established an authentic and engrossing way of presenting the plot.

The simplicity of the writing and its accurate depiction of modern romance are fast paced and thought-provoking, especially for me during the sections of raising a young child.  It was a snatch and grab purchase but I’m pleased to say it worked out this time.

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