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Summary and book reviews of Your Duck Is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg

Your Duck Is My Duck

Stories

by Deborah Eisenberg

Your Duck Is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg X
Your Duck Is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2018, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2019, 240 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
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About this Book

Book 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.

Cross Off and Move On

Adela, Bernice, and Charna, the youngest—all gone for a long time now, blurred into a flock sailing through memory, their long, thin legs streaming out beneath the fluffy domes of their mangy fur coats, their great beaky noses pointing the way.

They come to mind not so often. They come to mind only as often as does my mother, whose rancor toward them, my father's sisters, imbued them with a certain luster and has linked them to her permanently in the distant and shadowy arena of my childhood that now—given the obit in today's Times of violinist Morris Sandler—provides most of the space all four of them still occupy on this planet.

I was preparing to eat. I'd plunked an omelet onto a plate, sat down in front of it, folded the paper in such a way that I could maneuver my fork between my supper and my mouth and still read, and up fetched Cousin Morrie's picture, staring at me. Of course I didn't exactly recognize Morrie, and...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

A couple of the stories never really get off the ground, and some wander a bit aimlessly before coming to the point, but the well-crafted and clever pieces of My Duck is Your Duck outweigh the weaker ones. Eisenberg is adept at creating an arresting mood and rendering complex characters, particularly those who are seeking some kind of meaning or understanding in their lives. Even if some of the stories' plots are a little thin, the protagonists are worth taking the time to get to know...continued

Full Review (658 words).

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(Reviewed by Lisa Butts).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. A virtuoso at rendering the flickering gestures by which people simultaneously hide and reveal themselves, Eisenberg is an undisputed master of the short story.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. These brilliant stories invoke the desire for something other than what you've been given, which applies to us as much as to Eisenberg's characters, whose distracted desperation can't help, in the end, but reflect our own.

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Beyond the Book

Political Puppetry

While staying at an island resort, the protagonist of the title story of Deborah Eisenberg's Your Duck is My Duck meets another artist, a puppeteer who is crafting a performance about their benefactors' mistreatment of the island's farmers. Eisenberg is drawing from a long history of puppetry as a political tool wielded by artists and activists to criticize the upper/ruling class.

Punch and JudyThe transition from a rural/farming economy to the beginning of industrial capitalism in England coincided with the English Civil War and the rule of Oliver Cromwell, who served as Lord Protector after the execution of King Charles I. Cromwell, a Puritan, shut down the theaters in 1642, believing them to be dens of vice. He was also fully aware that plays ...

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