Mother of Invention
On Jenny Offill’s Dept of Speculation for BookForum.
In 1999, Jenny Offill published her first novel, Last Things, written in the voice of a girl caught between her passive scientist father and her mother, an increasingly unstable fabulist who takes her daughter on the run to nowhere in particular. Startlingly assured in inhabiting a child’s perspective, it was a cousin to another pair of American debuts, Mona Simpson’s Anywhere but Here and Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping …
Jessica Winter is executive editor of newyorker.com and a former editor at Slate and Time. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Bookforum, The Believer, and many other publications. She lives with her family in Flatbush, Brooklyn.