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Twilight of the Superheroes: Stories

by

Twilight of the Superheroes: Stories Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Eisenberg's fourth book of new work, Twilight of the Superheroes, seems to have been the longest in the making (nine years have passed since the publication of All Around Atlantis). The six stories here feel especially new, perhaps because they didn't appear in large-circulation magazines (what's up over there at The New Yorker?). They are her most ambitious and beautiful works to date. Can it be true that with talent, effort, the ability to keep at it, and a quite short haircut one eventually becomes great? It has worked for Deborah Eisenberg." Mona Simpson, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Deborah Eisenberg is nearly unmatched in her mastery of the short-story form. Now, in her newest collection, she demonstrates once again her virtuosic abilities in precisely distilled, perfectly shaped studies of human connection and disconnection.

From a group of friends whose luck in acquiring a luxurious Manhattan sublet turns to disaster as their balcony becomes a front-row seat to the catastrophe of 9/11; to the Roman holiday of a schoolteacher running away from the news of her ex-husband's life-threatening illness, and her unlikely guide, a titled art scout in desperate revolt against his circumstances and aging; to the too painful love of a brother for his schizophrenic sister, whose tragic life embitters him to the very idea of family, Eisenberg evokes "intense, abundant human lives" in which "everything that happens is out there waiting for you to come to it."

Review:

"Short-story master Eisenberg delivers, with signature intelligence and humor, six elegant, soulful new tales in her fifth book of stories. In a nuanced and compassionate family portrait, 'Some Other, Better Otto,' complex expressions of love and despair circle around a high-strung brother and his prodigiously talented, mentally ill sister. Several other stories also portray families pulling simultaneously apart while cleaving together, but each character and each motive is unique in Eisenberg's hands. The extraordinary, near?novella-length 'Window' follows a young, naïve woman into a marginal, backwoods life with a secretive and dictatorial man who has business in arms dealing and a toddler son he's left in her care. The title piece is set in Manhattan around the events of 9/11 and focuses on the post-collegiate ennui of a group of 20-something friends facing an uncertain future. The author is at the top of her form delving into the varied but devastating truth that, even after an apocalypse, people still have to lie in the beds they've made, unable to sleep. A terrific addition to the oeuvre of one of America's finest and most deeply empathetic short story writers." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Eisenberg's seventh collection of stories...confirms her talent for fiction that, like Chekhov's, insinuates you right into the characters' gnarled hearts, by methods so subtle and slippery that you're not sure where you are or how you got there." Lisa Zeidner, The Washington Post

Review:

"Instead of forcing her characters' stories into neat, arbitrary, preordained shapes, [Ms. Eisenberg] allows them to grow organically into oddly shaped, asymmetrical narratives — narratives that possess all the surprising twists and dismaying turns of real life." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Review:

"Complex relationships and troubling histories are skillfully telescoped in Eisenberg's new collection of six urbane, probing stories....Not quite equal to Eisenberg's All Around Atlantis, but she's still the closest thing there is to an American Alice Munro." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Its half-dozen long stories put [Eisenberg] light-years ahead of most story writers....These are special stories, with their new effects, their modulations of colors and light — you have to listen carefully, but when you do, they sound like ethereal chamber music." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"In her best stories, Deborah Eisenberg plunges without preamble into the hyperactive inner world of talky, middle-aged Americans....Like others who have tackled 9/11, Eisenberg hasn't figured out how to translate the enormous event into human-scale fiction. (Grade: B)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"[O]ffers commanding proof that in the right hands, the short story can be a legitimate art form, not just a test run for writers warming up to write a novel....[M]achines of perfect revelation deftly constructed by a contemporary master." Ben Marcus, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Eisenberg is indeed a master of the short story. She succeeds much more often than she fails because she brilliantly exploits what the form does best." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Synopsis:

Deborah Eisenberg is nearly unmatched in her mastery of the short-story form. Now, in her newest collection, she demonstrates once again her virtuosic abilities in precisely distilled, perfectly shaped studies of human connection and disconnection. From a group of friends whose luck in acquiring a luxurious Manhattan sublet turns to disaster as their balcony becomes a front-row seat to the catastrophe of 9/11, to the too painful love of a brother for his schizophrenic sister, Eisenberg brilliantly "illustrates the lives of people rubbed raw by what the fates have sent them" (Vanity Fair).

Synopsis:

Deborah Eisenberg is nearly unmatched in her mastery of the short-story form. Now, in her newest collection, she demonstrates once again her virtuosic abilities in precisely distilled, perfectly shaped studies of human connection and disconnection. From a group of friends whose luck in acquiring a luxurious Manhattan sublet turns to disaster as their balcony becomes a front-row seat to the catastrophe of 9/11; to the Roman holiday of a schoolteacher running away from the news of her ex-husband's life-threatening illness, and her unlikely guide, a titled art scout in desperate revolt against his circumstances and aging; to the too painful love of a brother for his schizophrenic sister, whose tragic life embitters him to the very idea of family, Eisenberg evokes intense, abundant human lives in which everything that happens is out there waiting for you to come to it. Deborah Eisenberg is the author of six previous collections of stories. The recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and a Guggenheim fellowship, she lives in New York City and teaches at the University of Virginia. A New York Times Notable Book of the YearAn Atlantic Monthly Book of the YearA Boston Globe Best Book of the Year In her newest collection, Deborah Eisenberg demonstrates her abilities in precisely distilled studies of an American reality that has become increasingly chaotic, brutal, and out of control, both personally and politically. From a group of variously ambitious friends delighted to find a luxurious sublet just across from the World Trade Center in the year 2000; to a family whose tranquility is strangely poisoned by its years spent in poor foreign lands; to the too-painful love of a brother for his schizophrenic sister, whose life embitters him to the very idea of family, Eisenberg widens her range to focus her eye on a terrifying contemporary world in which everything that happens is out there waiting for you to come to it.Deborah Eisenberg offers commanding proof that in the right hands, the short story can be a legitimate art form, not just a test run for writers warming up to write a novel . . . There aren't many contemporary novels as shudderingly intimate and mordantly funny as Eisenberg's best stories, and her latest collection, her fifth in 20 years, should finally establish her as one of the most important fiction writers now at work . . . Eisenberg has given is these remarkable stories, machines of perfect revelation deftly constructed by a contemporary master.--Ben Marcus, The New York Times Book Review Deborah Eisenberg offers commanding proof that in the right hands, the short story can be a legitimate art form, not just a test run for writers warming up to write a novel . . . There aren't many contemporary novels as shudderingly intimate and mordantly funny as Eisenberg's best stories, and her latest collection, her fifth in 20 years, should finally establish her as one of the most important fiction writers now at work . . . Eisenberg has given is these remarkable stories, machines of perfect revelation deftly constructed by a contemporary master.--Ben Marcus, The New York Times Book Review As Eisenberg publishes Twilight of the Superheroes, her fourth and most fully realized collection, the literary fashion for auterity has given way to a reengagement with the big, the discursive, the ambitious, to a more copious treatment of character and its points of connection to a larger world . . . Although Eisenberg's urge to place her characters in a social context is . . . political, the political dimension of her fiction is less defining than the fact that her larger world is always the interior one, the unmapped psychic territory that crisis brings to light . . . Sometimes writers, without changing what they do, seem to arrive at their moment. Eisenberg is true only to her character's perspective, and that perspective now seems truer than ever to our own. There is a certain humility in seeing only as one character sees, in standing, as the author of a fictional world, not above that world but in it.--Jonathan Dee, Harper's Magazine The title story of Deborah Eisenberg's masterly new collection takes place in a millennial New York City, cutting backward and forward in time to give the reader glimpses of that metropolis before and after 9/11 . . . Using her playwright's ear for dialogue and a journalistic eye for the askew detail, Ms. Eisenberg gives us--in just a handful of pages--a visceral sense of these characters' daily routines, the worlds they inhabit and the families they rebel against or allow to define them. By moving fluently back and forth between the present and the past, she shows how memories and long ago events shadow current decisions, how the gap between expectations and reality grows ever wider as the years scroll by. Instead of forcing her characters' stories into neat, arbitrary, preordained shapes, she allows them to grow organically into oddly shaped, asymmetrical narratives--narratives that possess all the surprising twists and dismaying turns of real life.--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times For the past two decades, Deborah Eisenberg has had to content herself with being esteemed rather than merely famous. Her stories are careful chronicles of contemporary life, unfolding from the prismatic perspective of a narrator both wise and intimate with her characters. The quality is what you might call high realism, a definition necessary only because so many other unreal states have crowded the genre. The voice is knowing, even insinuating, but there's a regard for humanity that keeps the somber cast of her stories from taking over. She writes . . . in the tradition of the old story lovers like William Trevor and Lorrie Moore, connected mostly by their pristine craft and respect for the thickness of the form. . . Her stories reveal all the steely beauty of a knife wrapped in velvet.--Gail Caldwell, The Boston Globe Eisenberg's . . . collection of

About the Author

Deborah Eisenberg is the author of six previous collections of stories. The recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and a Guggenheim fellowship, she lives in New York City and teaches at the University of Virginia.

Table of Contents

Twilight of the Superheroes 1
Some Other, Better Otto 43
Like It or Not 89
Window 127
Revenge of the Dinosaurs 171
The Flaw in the Design 197

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374299415
Subtitle:
Stories
Author:
Eisenberg, Deborah
Publisher:
Picador
Subject:
General
Subject:
Social life and customs
Subject:
Short Stories (single author)
Subject:
New york (n.y.)
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Stories (single author)
Copyright:
Publication Date:
January 24, 2006
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.13 x 5.66 x 0.71 in

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Twilight of the Superheroes: Stories Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.50 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374299415 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Short-story master Eisenberg delivers, with signature intelligence and humor, six elegant, soulful new tales in her fifth book of stories. In a nuanced and compassionate family portrait, 'Some Other, Better Otto,' complex expressions of love and despair circle around a high-strung brother and his prodigiously talented, mentally ill sister. Several other stories also portray families pulling simultaneously apart while cleaving together, but each character and each motive is unique in Eisenberg's hands. The extraordinary, near?novella-length 'Window' follows a young, naïve woman into a marginal, backwoods life with a secretive and dictatorial man who has business in arms dealing and a toddler son he's left in her care. The title piece is set in Manhattan around the events of 9/11 and focuses on the post-collegiate ennui of a group of 20-something friends facing an uncertain future. The author is at the top of her form delving into the varied but devastating truth that, even after an apocalypse, people still have to lie in the beds they've made, unable to sleep. A terrific addition to the oeuvre of one of America's finest and most deeply empathetic short story writers." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Eisenberg's fourth book of new work, Twilight of the Superheroes, seems to have been the longest in the making (nine years have passed since the publication of All Around Atlantis). The six stories here feel especially new, perhaps because they didn't appear in large-circulation magazines (what's up over there at The New Yorker?). They are her most ambitious and beautiful works to date. Can it be true that with talent, effort, the ability to keep at it, and a quite short haircut one eventually becomes great? It has worked for Deborah Eisenberg." (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
"Review" by , "Eisenberg's seventh collection of stories...confirms her talent for fiction that, like Chekhov's, insinuates you right into the characters' gnarled hearts, by methods so subtle and slippery that you're not sure where you are or how you got there."
"Review" by , "Instead of forcing her characters' stories into neat, arbitrary, preordained shapes, [Ms. Eisenberg] allows them to grow organically into oddly shaped, asymmetrical narratives — narratives that possess all the surprising twists and dismaying turns of real life."
"Review" by , "Complex relationships and troubling histories are skillfully telescoped in Eisenberg's new collection of six urbane, probing stories....Not quite equal to Eisenberg's All Around Atlantis, but she's still the closest thing there is to an American Alice Munro."
"Review" by , "Its half-dozen long stories put [Eisenberg] light-years ahead of most story writers....These are special stories, with their new effects, their modulations of colors and light — you have to listen carefully, but when you do, they sound like ethereal chamber music."
"Review" by , "In her best stories, Deborah Eisenberg plunges without preamble into the hyperactive inner world of talky, middle-aged Americans....Like others who have tackled 9/11, Eisenberg hasn't figured out how to translate the enormous event into human-scale fiction. (Grade: B)"
"Review" by , "[O]ffers commanding proof that in the right hands, the short story can be a legitimate art form, not just a test run for writers warming up to write a novel....[M]achines of perfect revelation deftly constructed by a contemporary master."
"Review" by , "Eisenberg is indeed a master of the short story. She succeeds much more often than she fails because she brilliantly exploits what the form does best."
"Synopsis" by ,
Deborah Eisenberg is nearly unmatched in her mastery of the short-story form. Now, in her newest collection, she demonstrates once again her virtuosic abilities in precisely distilled, perfectly shaped studies of human connection and disconnection. From a group of friends whose luck in acquiring a luxurious Manhattan sublet turns to disaster as their balcony becomes a front-row seat to the catastrophe of 9/11, to the too painful love of a brother for his schizophrenic sister, Eisenberg brilliantly "illustrates the lives of people rubbed raw by what the fates have sent them" (Vanity Fair).
"Synopsis" by , Deborah Eisenberg is nearly unmatched in her mastery of the short-story form. Now, in her newest collection, she demonstrates once again her virtuosic abilities in precisely distilled, perfectly shaped studies of human connection and disconnection. From a group of friends whose luck in acquiring a luxurious Manhattan sublet turns to disaster as their balcony becomes a front-row seat to the catastrophe of 9/11; to the Roman holiday of a schoolteacher running away from the news of her ex-husband's life-threatening illness, and her unlikely guide, a titled art scout in desperate revolt against his circumstances and aging; to the too painful love of a brother for his schizophrenic sister, whose tragic life embitters him to the very idea of family, Eisenberg evokes intense, abundant human lives in which everything that happens is out there waiting for you to come to it. Deborah Eisenberg is the author of six previous collections of stories. The recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and a Guggenheim fellowship, she lives in New York City and teaches at the University of Virginia. A New York Times Notable Book of the YearAn Atlantic Monthly Book of the YearA Boston Globe Best Book of the Year In her newest collection, Deborah Eisenberg demonstrates her abilities in precisely distilled studies of an American reality that has become increasingly chaotic, brutal, and out of control, both personally and politically. From a group of variously ambitious friends delighted to find a luxurious sublet just across from the World Trade Center in the year 2000; to a family whose tranquility is strangely poisoned by its years spent in poor foreign lands; to the too-painful love of a brother for his schizophrenic sister, whose life embitters him to the very idea of family, Eisenberg widens her range to focus her eye on a terrifying contemporary world in which everything that happens is out there waiting for you to come to it.Deborah Eisenberg offers commanding proof that in the right hands, the short story can be a legitimate art form, not just a test run for writers warming up to write a novel . . . There aren't many contemporary novels as shudderingly intimate and mordantly funny as Eisenberg's best stories, and her latest collection, her fifth in 20 years, should finally establish her as one of the most important fiction writers now at work . . . Eisenberg has given is these remarkable stories, machines of perfect revelation deftly constructed by a contemporary master.--Ben Marcus, The New York Times Book Review Deborah Eisenberg offers commanding proof that in the right hands, the short story can be a legitimate art form, not just a test run for writers warming up to write a novel . . . There aren't many contemporary novels as shudderingly intimate and mordantly funny as Eisenberg's best stories, and her latest collection, her fifth in 20 years, should finally establish her as one of the most important fiction writers now at work . . . Eisenberg has given is these remarkable stories, machines of perfect revelation deftly constructed by a contemporary master.--Ben Marcus, The New York Times Book Review As Eisenberg publishes Twilight of the Superheroes, her fourth and most fully realized collection, the literary fashion for auterity has given way to a reengagement with the big, the discursive, the ambitious, to a more copious treatment of character and its points of connection to a larger world . . . Although Eisenberg's urge to place her characters in a social context is . . . political, the political dimension of her fiction is less defining than the fact that her larger world is always the interior one, the unmapped psychic territory that crisis brings to light . . . Sometimes writers, without changing what they do, seem to arrive at their moment. Eisenberg is true only to her character's perspective, and that perspective now seems truer than ever to our own. There is a certain humility in seeing only as one character sees, in standing, as the author of a fictional world, not above that world but in it.--Jonathan Dee, Harper's Magazine The title story of Deborah Eisenberg's masterly new collection takes place in a millennial New York City, cutting backward and forward in time to give the reader glimpses of that metropolis before and after 9/11 . . . Using her playwright's ear for dialogue and a journalistic eye for the askew detail, Ms. Eisenberg gives us--in just a handful of pages--a visceral sense of these characters' daily routines, the worlds they inhabit and the families they rebel against or allow to define them. By moving fluently back and forth between the present and the past, she shows how memories and long ago events shadow current decisions, how the gap between expectations and reality grows ever wider as the years scroll by. Instead of forcing her characters' stories into neat, arbitrary, preordained shapes, she allows them to grow organically into oddly shaped, asymmetrical narratives--narratives that possess all the surprising twists and dismaying turns of real life.--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times For the past two decades, Deborah Eisenberg has had to content herself with being esteemed rather than merely famous. Her stories are careful chronicles of contemporary life, unfolding from the prismatic perspective of a narrator both wise and intimate with her characters. The quality is what you might call high realism, a definition necessary only because so many other unreal states have crowded the genre. The voice is knowing, even insinuating, but there's a regard for humanity that keeps the somber cast of her stories from taking over. She writes . . . in the tradition of the old story lovers like William Trevor and Lorrie Moore, connected mostly by their pristine craft and respect for the thickness of the form. . . Her stories reveal all the steely beauty of a knife wrapped in velvet.--Gail Caldwell, The Boston Globe Eisenberg's . . . collection of
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