Cover image for Your duck is my duck : stories / Deborah Eisenberg.
Title:
Your duck is my duck : stories / Deborah Eisenberg.
ISBN:
9780062688774
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2018]

©2018
Physical Description:
226 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Contents:
Your duck is my duck -- Taj Mahal -- Cross off and move on -- Merge -- The third tower -- Recalculating.
Abstract:
"Each of the six stories in Your Duck is My Duck, Eisenberg's 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."-- (Source of summary not specified).
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Summary

Summary

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.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

The six superlative and entertaining stories of Eisenberg's fifth collection (after 2006's Twilight of the Superheroes) mostly follow the wayward lives of upper-class Americans whose tragic vanities exaggerate the common human qualities that undermine all types of people. The title story follows a painter who has lost her way and finds it again in the tropical home of a volatile and exploitative wealthy couple. The amazing "Taj Mahal" introduces a cast of aging golden-era film stars who have gathered to debunk, complain about, and revel in the scathing memoir written by the grown son of the director who was once the center of their circle. The debasements and excesses of the Trump era are a frequent inspiration if not a subject-"Merge," which bears an ironic epigraph from the current president ("I know words. I have the best words."), is a novella-length mystery about the ne'er-do-well son of a captain of industry, who is guided in an epistolary quest by his weirdo lover. 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. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


New York Review of Books Review

THE WITCH ELM, by Tana French. (Viking, $28.) French has stepped away from her standout Dublin Murder Squad series to deliver a nervy, obsessive novel - equal parts crime thriller and psychological study - about an art gallery publicist and an unsolved murder in his family. YOUR DUCK IS MY DUCK: Stories, by Deborah Eisenberg. (Ecco/ HarperCollins, $26.99.) These six stories, like all of Eisenberg's work, are blazingly moral and devastatingly sidelong. She is an artist of the unsaid: the unacknowledged silences and barely intimated strangenesses of the world. THE FIFTH RISK, by Michael Lewis. (Norton, $26.95.) Lewis brings his breezy, appealing style to an examination of three relatively obscure government departments, energy, agriculture and commerce, shining a light on the life-or-death work these agencies perform, and showing how the Trump administration is doing what it can to undermine them. GANDHI: The Years That Changed the World, 1914-1948, by Ramachandra Guha. (Knopf, $40.) This second volume of a monumental biography looks at both the public and private life of a major figure of the 20th century. Guha admires Gandhi's achievements, but does not gloss over the man's flaws. GOOD AND MAD: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger, by Rebecca Traister. (Simon & Schuster, $27.) Traister, a columnist for New York magazine, argues that women's anger, long a catalyst for social change, has rarely been recognized as righteous or patriotic. Her timely new book is both a corrective and a call to action. IN PIECES, by Sally Field. (Grand Central, $29.) This somber, intimate and at times wrenching self-portrait - written by the actress herself and not a ghostwriter, with minimal rationalization, sentiment or self-pity - feels like an act of personal investigation, not a Hollywood memoir. LOOKING FOR LORRAINE: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, by Imani Perry. (Beacon, $26.95.) This impassioned study by Perry, a scholar at Princeton, yields a fascinating portrait of the influential black playwright and activist, who died young in 1956, cutting short a life of unusual promise. BROTHERS OF THE GUN: A Memoir of the Syrian War, by Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple. (One World, $28.) Hisham, a journalist from Raqqa, details his country's descent into endless bloodshed. Crabapple's abundant illustrations capture the chaos. UNCLAIMED BAGGAGE, by Jen Doll. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $18.99; ages 12 and up.) This bighearted Y.A. debut follows a 16-year-old feminist whose summer job selling items from lost airport luggage punctures her Alabama town's conservative bubble. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web: nytimes.com/books


Library Journal Review

Once again, MacArthur Fellow -Eisenberg (Twilight of the Superheroes) deploys her brand of entertainingly sharp cultural insight, using fine portraiture to show life's messiness and the great gap that often looms between how things are and how we want or imagine them to be. A mother relentlessly compares her daughter favorably to a violin prodigy cousin while viciously critiquing her own sisters-in-law, the daughter's beloved aunts; even the young woman's rationalizing boyfriend must finally concede, "Your mother is mean as a mace." A group of octogenarian actors famed in their day gather to pick apart a memoir written by an esteemed director's grandson, who portrays them in a bad light-or at least not as they see themselves. The daughter of the deceased Zoe, once part of the group, recalls her mother revealing at life's end what she wished she had seen but refusing an offer of plane tickets; "Just let me lie here and yearn to see the Taj Majal." A young artist is delighted if puzzled when she's taken up by a wealthy couple who bought one of her paintings; in the end, she realizes she's just part of their drama. -VERDICT Important for collections of good literature. [See Prepub Alert, 3/26/18.] © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.