Your Duck is My Duck - Deborah Eisenberg

Staff Pick

With her first new collection of stories in twelve years, Eisenberg gives us a true, funny, and troubling picture of our world, and a chilling glimpse of the future. The present is unevenly divided between the haves and have-nots; the haves worry about insomnia and whether they’ll see the Taj Mahal before they die. “Merge” gives an indelible close-up of this rapacious class, focusing on the son of a corporate despot who’s been cut off by dad but is gamely following in his footsteps with impressive displays of entitlement and self-justification. So far he’s only really victimized his father—to the tune of a “borrowed” ten grand—but his moral blindness shows where he’s headed. In the title story Eisenberg’s outrage on behalf of workers and indigenous peoples of Western-exploited tropical paradises comes through in searing language. The gatherings at the beach paradise are “more tournaments than dinner parties,” and after a contingent of accountants blows through, there’s nothing left but “crumbs.” Here friendship isn’t mutual, it’s up to the power couples to decide “how well they knew you.” But while they pull the strings, artists often pull back. A progressive puppeteer stages the “simple moral fable” of a grasping monarch oblivious to the fact that “the serfs and donkeys are already inflamed with rage.” Sure enough, the island explodes. “The Third Tower” plays out an alternative scenario, one in which the powerful do recognize the threat posed to them by artists and workers. A woman who is both is sent to the City for treatment of a mysterious congenital condition. Her disease is imagination: she’s given to spells of “words heating up, expanding, exploding into pictures of things, shooting off in all directions.” Her hospital is as much prison as clinic; she’s there to learn to “cooperate.” In other stories Eisenberg follows actors, dancers, and musicians, exploring both social and psychological questions of identity. A coterie of aging film stars debates the different selves they find portrayed in other people’s memories, but all agree that “it’s pretending to be oneself that’s exhausting.”

Your Duck Is My Duck: Stories Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062688774
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Ecco - September 25th, 2018

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