DEPT. OF SPECULATION (2014)
Dept. of Speculation is a portrait of a marriage. It is also a beguiling rumination on the mysteries of intimacy, trust, faith, knowledge, and the condition of universal shipwreck that unites us all. With cool precision, in language that shimmers with rage and wit and fierce longing, Jenny Offill has crafted an exquisitely suspenseful love story that has the velocity of a train hurtling through the night at top speed. Exceptionally lean and compact, Dept. of Speculation can be read in a single sitting, but there are enough bracing emotional insights in these pages to fill a much longer novel.
Rights: Knopf, North America; DVA, Germany; Calmann Levy, France; Novo Conceito, Brazil; Granta/Portobello, UK; Domingo, Turkey; De Geus, the Netherlands; Libros del Asteroide, Spain; NN Editore, Italy; Natur & Kultur, Sweden; Inaque, Slovakia; Relogio d’Agua, Portugal; Korea, Mujintree; Catalan, Ara Llibres; Norway, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag; Denmark, Gyldendal Dansk
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Exquisitely honed and vibrant . . . The reader easily identifies with [the narrator’s] struggles and frustrations . . . An enlightened choice for a reading group.”
“If Rainer Maria Rilke had written a novel, it might look something like this . . . Lyrical . . . Philosophically rich . . . Moments of literary experimentation worthy of Virginia Woolf.”
“Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation resembles no book I’ve read before. If I tell you that it’s funny, and moving, and true; that it’s as compact and mysterious as a neutron; that it tells a profound story of love and parenthood while invoking (among others) Keats, Kafka, Einstein, Russian cosmonauts, and advice for the housewife of 1896, will you please simply believe me, and read it?”
“Dept. of Speculation is gorgeous, funny, a profound and profoundly moving work of art. Jenny Offill is a master of form and feeling, and she gets life on the page in new, startling ways.”
“A heartbreaking and exceptional book by a writer who doesn’t settle for less—I’ve been longing for a new novel from Jenny Offill since her stunning Last Things, and it was worth every bit of the wait. Sad, funny, philosophical, at once deeply poetic and deeply engaging, this is a brilliant, soulful elegy to the hardships and joys of married life.”
“Dept. of Speculation is a deep, funny, and beautifully written novel. It is a moving and intelligent story of a specific marriage, but it is also very much about how it feels to be alive right now. Jenny Offill perfectly captures the absurdities and ironies of our moment.”
LAST THINGS (2014)
Grace’s father believes in science and builds his daughter a dollhouse with lights that really work. Grace’s mother takes her skinny-dipping in the lake and teaches her about African hyena men who devour their wives in their sleep. Grace’s world, of fact and fiction, marvels and madness, is slowly unraveling because her family is coming apart before her eyes. With eloquence and compassion, Jenny Offill weaves a luminous story of a wounded family and of a young girl yearning to understand the difference between fiction, fact, and hope. A novel of vibrant imagination and searing intelligence, Last Things is a stunning literary achievement.
Rights: Vintage, North America; Bloomsbury, UK; S. Fischer, Germany; NN Editore, Italy; De Geus, The Netherlands
MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING (2007)
Essays about the complications of money. Contributors include: Daphne Merkin, Susan Choi, Heidi Julavits, Walter Kirn, et al.
Rights: Doubleday, North America
THE FRIEND WHO GOT AWAY (2005)
Anthology edited with Elissa Schappell. Contributors include Dorothy Allison, Mary Morris, Ann Hood, Lydia Millet, Katie Roiphe, Vivian Gornick, Francine Prose, et al. The editors appeared on the Today show and NPR’s Fresh Air.
Rights: Doubleday, North America; Seoul Books, Korea; Morning Star Publishing, Chinese Complex Characters; Japan; Milim Publishers, Israel; First serial to five national women’s magazines, including O, The Oprah Magazine; Glamour; and Good Housekeeping
Sparky is a sloth.
A pet sloth.
And sloths don’t know how to fetch.
But they sure know how to play dead.
What’s an eager pet owner to do?
Rights: Schwartz & Wade, North America; Orion, UK; Aladin, Germany; Jiangsu Phoenix Fine Arts Publishing House, China; Circonflexe, France; Bomnamu, Korea
11 EXPERIMENTS THAT FAILED, illustrations by Nancy Carpenter (2011)
Is it possible to eat snowballs doused in ketchup—and nothing else—all winter? Can a washing machine wash dishes? By reading the step-by-step instructions, kids can discover the answers to such all-important questions along with the book’s curious narrator. Here are 12 “hypotheses,” as well as lists of “what you need,” “what to do,” and “what happened” that are sure to make young readers laugh out loud as they learn how to conduct science experiments (really!).
Rights: Schwartz & Wade/Random House, North America
17 THINGS I’M NOT ALLOWED TO DO ANYMORE, illustrations by Nancy Carpenter (2006)
A laugh-out-loud look at all the fun things grown-ups never let you do. Jenny Offill describes how tough it is to be a kid, when even the (seemingly) best ideas are met with resistance. The text is short, spare, and fall-on-the-floor funny—not to mention utterly child-friendly. Here, accompanied by Nancy Carpenter’s hilariously clever illustrations, is a day-in-the-life look at a kid as she torments her brother, her pet, her classmates, and, of course, her mother.
Rights: Schwartz & Wade/Random House, North America; Publishing House Openkid, Korea; Livros Horizonte, Portugal