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.
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.