Friday, May 2, 2014
Relatively Recently Read
I picked up this book for two reasons. First, I read a great review in The New Yorker. Second, Jenny Offill was an acquaintance of mine in college, and I though it was so cool that this person who was on the literary magazine at school, and just beginning to write seriously at the time, had actually become a bonafide big-time author.
Anyway, regardless of the reasons, I'm glad I picked this book up. The novel is constructed in a series of discrete prose fragments that illuminate the life of a writer, wife, and mother. The unnamed narrator is revealed to us in tantalizing little flashes, as we observe her observations on the importance of work and ambition, the nature of motherhood and how it changes you, and the difficult and grace-giving state of being we call marriage.
I found myself catching my breath at times at how close to the bone some of Offill's observations cut. The language and fragmentary structure work together wonderfully to create less of a narrative (although there definitely is one) than an extended psychological portrait and meditation on marriage, parenthood, and the joys and tragedies of both.