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Dept of Speculation

by Jenny Offill

Written in a blog diary style, these are bittersweet dispatches from life on the frontline of a failing marriage. All the agonies and joys of motherhood are here too, condensed into unforgettable moments that any woman who has ever been ‘on the edge’ will empathise with, even if you have never had to walk a baby to sleep for hours.

Extract

And that phrase – 'sleeping like a baby'. Some blonde said it blithely on the subway the other day. I wanted to lie down next to her and scream for five hours in her ear...
I ordered a CD online that promised to put even the most colicky baby to sleep. I sounded like a giant heart beating. As if you had been forced to live inside such a heart with no possibility of escape.
Our friend R stopped by one night to see us while it was playing. 'Wow. That is some bad techno music,' he said. He sat on the couch and drank beer while I paced with the baby...
Thump, thump, thump, thump went the music. But the heartbeat song only enraged the baby. On and on she screamed. 'This is intense,' R said after an hour or two. R who is not our friend anymore and began not to be on the night in question.

Parallels

Speedboat by Renata Adler
The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
 

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