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About Jenny Offill
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From the beloved author of the nationwide best seller Dept. of Speculation—one of the New York Times Book Review's Ten Best Books of the Year—a “darkly funny and urgent” (NPR) tour de force about a family, and a nation, in crisis
Lizzie Benson slid into her job as a librarian without a traditional degree. But this gives her a vantage point from which to practice her other calling: she is a fake shrink. For years she has tended to her God-haunted mother and her recovering addict brother. They have both stabilized for the moment, but Lizzie has little chance to spend her new free time with husband and son before her old mentor, Sylvia Liller, makes a proposal. Sylvia has become famous for her prescient podcast, Hell and High Water, and wants to hire Lizzie to answer the mail she receives: from left-wingers worried about climate change and right-wingers worried about the decline of western civilization.
As Lizzie dives into this polarized world, she begins to wonder what it means to keep tending your own garden once you've seen the flames beyond its walls. When her brother becomes a father and Sylvia a recluse, Lizzie is forced to address the limits of her own experience—but still she tries to save everyone, using everything she's learned about empathy and despair, conscience and collusion, from her years of wandering the library stacks . . . And all the while the voices of the city keep floating in—funny, disturbing, and increasingly mad.
“Offill’s fragmentary structure evokes an unbearable emotional intensity: something at the core of the story that cannot be narrated directly, by straight chronology, because to do so would be like looking at the sun…” —The New York Times
ONE OF THE 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR - THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
A Best Book of the Year: The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Vogue.com, Electric Literature, Buzzfeed
In the beginning, it was easy to imagine their future. They were young and giddy, sure of themselves and of their love for each other. “Dept. of Speculation” was their code name for all the thrilling uncertainties that lay ahead. Then they got married, had a child and navigated the familiar calamities of family life—a colicky baby, a faltering relationship, stalled ambitions.
When their marriage reaches a sudden breaking point, the wife tries to retrace the steps that have led them to this place, invoking everything from Kafka to the Stoics to doomed Russian cosmonauts as she analyzes what is lost and what remains. In language that shimmers with rage and longing and wit, Offill has created a brilliantly suspenseful love story—a novel to read in one sitting, even as its piercing meditations linger long after the last page.
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.
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!).
Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter—the ingenious pair that brought you 17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore—have outdone themselves in this brilliant and outrageously funny book.
Winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award
This Parenting Magazine Best Book of the Year and Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year features a kid full of fun ideas. For example, in the morning, gluing her brother's bunny slippers to the floor sounds like a good plan. But now she's not allowed to use glue anymore. And what about when she shows Joey Whipple her underpants—they're only underpants, right? Turns out she's not allowed to do that again, either. And isn't broccoli the perfect gift for any brother? It's just too bad her parents don't think so. But she has the last laugh in this humerous picture book about not-so-great behavior. And don't miss the companion book to 17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore: 11 Experiments that Failed, a zany exploration of the scientific method by everyone's favorite troublemaking protagonist.
Here’s a picture book that is sure to ring true in every family with more than one child. With minimal text and raucous illustrations, this laugh-out-loud, spot-on picture book is also a perfect portrait of a mischievous kid at her imaginative best.