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.
Like much of Eisenberg’s previous work, the stories in Your Duck Is My Duck are concerned with inequality, disaster and the sense that we’re pretty deep into the end times, a position that’s rarely out of fashion, but that feels particularly apposite now ... Eisenberg is as alive to the potentialities of language as any contemporary writer I know. This is what makes her work so funny and exciting, and is also what provides its philosophical heft. She is fascinated by its limitations: her stories are full of incomplete sentences, misunderstandings and double meanings. In Merge, the collection’s longest piece, the insufficiencies of language are probed to a troubling extent ... the longer story’s power proves that Eisenberg doesn’t need dystopias: she’s perfectly capable of summoning apocalyptic atmospheres by focusing her extraordinary talents on the world right outside the window.