“Writer’s writer” is an annoying phrase — implying both commercial failure and writing that’s too good for the masses — but it’s really the best way to describe Deborah Eisenberg, whose wryly funny, language-rich short stories have been enthralling literary fiction fans for decades, and rarely get the mainstream recognition they warrant. The stories in Your Duck Is My Duck range from an artist reckoning with her patrons to a child trying to resist the earth’s rotation, but all of them deal with anxiety, money, loneliness, and the difficulty of simply getting stuff done because the world feels too crazy. They’re variations on the worries all of us feel, put into electric sentences by idiosyncratic characters you won’t want to part with. Recommended By Lucinda G., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A much-anticipated collection of brilliantly observant short stories from one of the great American masters of the form.
At times raucously hilarious, at times charming and delightful, at times as solemn and mysterious as a pond at midnight, Deborah Eisenberg's stories gently compel us to confront the most disturbing truths about ourselves — from our intimate lives as lovers, parents, and children, to our equally troubling roles as citizens on a violent, terrifying planet.
Each of the six stories in Your Duck is My Duck, her first collection since 2006, has the heft and complexity of a novel. With her own inexorable but utterly unpredictable logic and her almost uncanny ability to conjure the strange states of mind and emotion that constitute our daily consciousness, Eisenberg pulls us as if by gossamer threads through her characters — a tormented woman whose face determines her destiny; a group of film actors shocked to read a book about their past; a privileged young man who unexpectedly falls into a love affair with a human rights worker caught up in an all-consuming quest that he doesn't understand.
In Eisenberg's world, the forces of money, sex, and power cannot be escaped, and the force of history, whether confronted or denied, cannot be evaded. No one writes better about time, tragedy and grief, and the indifferent but beautiful universe around us.
"Deborah Eisenberg, one of America's finest writers, offers new ways of seeing and feeling, as if something were being perfected at the core." San Francisco Chronicle
"[Eisenberg] reminds us in every line of certain saving virtues: wit, wild intelligence, great heart, the beauty of the inquiring human voice. If our culture can produce a writer this wonderful, there must be something beautiful about us yet." George Saunders
"Eisenberg is a gorgeous writer...I thank my stars that there's a writer in the increasingly imperiled world as smart and funny and blazingly moral and devastatingly sidelong as she is." New York Times Book Review
"...[S]uperlative and entertaining...Eisenberg is funny, grim, biting, and wise, but always with a light touch and always in the service of worlds that extend far beyond the page. A virtuoso at rendering the flickering gestures by which people simultaneously hide and reveal themselves, Eisenberg is an undisputed master of the short story." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
About the Author
Deborah Eisenberg is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow and the recipient of honors including the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, a Whiting Writer's Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Eisenberg has published four collections of stories: Transactions in a Foreign Currency (1986), Under the 82nd Airborne (1992), All Around Atlantis (1997), and Twilight of the Superheroes (2006). Her first two story collections were republished in one volume as The Stories (So Far) of Deborah Eisenberg (1997). All four volumes were reprinted in 2010 in The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg (2010). She is a professor of writing at Columbia University.