There are a lot of great little moments in Dept. of Speculation; take, for example, this scene:
A few nights later, I secretly hope that I might be a genius. Why else can no amount of sleeping pills fell my brain? But in the morning my daughter asks me what a cloud is and I cannot say.
Sometimes, writers focus so much on these little set pieces that they sacrifice the larger story, and Offill resists this. It's the story of a courtship, a marriage, a family, but it's so, so much more than that.