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Corning - Southeast Steuben County Library 1 FIC EIS New books
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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

Booklist Review

So, you're born, and then what? How would anybody know anything about anybody? In her first book after The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg (2010), Eisenberg's anxiously questioning narrators bumble through life, dangerously muddled by or porous to the absurdities of human endeavors, their skittery musings swerving between sorrow and breathtaking humor. In the ambushing title story, a bereft artist is offered refuge at a rich couple's beach estate, largesse that turns bizarrely disastrous as Eisenberg adroitly transforms the personal into the global. In the hilarious and bittersweet Taj Mahal, a man's memoir about his famous Hollywood-director grandfather stirs up a coterie of surviving actors riled by age and memory's unreliability. Generational divides lead to droll and provocative standoffs in stories of abandonment, truths withheld, dangerous quests, crimes against humanity, and glimpses of a catastrophic near-future. Summoning her aerodynamic imagination and wondrous linguistic litheness, Eisenberg leaps with acrobatic grace from the everyday to the wildly unexpected in acts of radiant and unnerving clarification. Eisenberg's incisively exhilarating fiction syncs with that of Margaret Atwood, A. M. Homes, and Lydia Millet.--Donna Seaman Copyright 2018 Booklist


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.


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.


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