From the author of Twilight of the Superheroes and winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award-winner comes a new short story collection which focuses on the wayward lives and tragic vanities of upper-class Americans.
Deborah Eisenberg speaks in the voice of a despairing god: wry, cool, resonant, capable of three dimensions of irony at once, besotted with the beauty and tragedy of this darkening planet of ours ... Every story in the new collection...holds at least one image that can knock you to your knees ...Beauty that spreads through the mind and lingers there in alterations so deep they’re almost physical: This is what I love most about Eisenberg’s work ... Eisenberg is a gorgeous writer of lines and dialogue and paragraphs, all the artistry in the marks upon the page, but even more deeply — and much more interestingly — she is an artist of the unsaid ... Stare hard, Eisenberg tells us, and watch the banal world transform into marvels ... 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.
[Eisenberg] is always worth the wait. The new book is cannily constructed, and so instantly absorbing that it feels like an abduction ... On the face of it, Your Duck Is My Duck could be regarded as a politically mild book for Eisenberg. The world intrudes only at the margins — tumult is hinted at in unnamed countries, glimpses of unspecified migrants. But these are stories of painful awakenings and refusals of innocence. This book offers no palliatives to its characters or to its readers — no plan of action. But it is a compass.
Dense, disorienting, disturbing, and sometimes prayer-like, Eisenberg’s stories run roughshod through received ideas of the rules for a 'well-made short story.' They are filled with nonsequential scenes, enormous time leaps, slippery perspective, capacious unresolved plots and subplots—no limits. Yet like Calvino’s crystal, they are exquisitely formed. Words refract, themes reflect, illuminations and epiphanies bounce furiously ... Stories don’t in principle have the space to unfurl lifetimes, multiple settings, formation and reverberation. Yet Eisenberg’s stories— with their telescoping time lines and surprising associative turns—expand, even in their ellipses ... There is so much living and expression these characters (small and large) bring to the page ... Eisenberg’s rich linguistic spectrum is on full display in this story, from the virtuosic description of the train ride to the brainwashing clinic, through to the total dulling. It is a reminder of how masterfully she moves between registers: heightened description, emotional flurries, and crisp, cutting clarity.