Your Duck Is My Duck: Stories

Deborah Eisenberg (Twilight of the Superheroes) pushes the short story to new heights in this weirdly affecting collection. Your Duck Is My Duck begins with the titular story, in which a young painter is whisked off to an exotic island retreat, courtesy of a wealthy patron couple. Once there, she meets a genius puppeteer who stages revolution in his productions, not unlike the political tumult consuming the real-life island. In this way, the reader enters Eisenberg's quasi-farcical worlds, where biting satire meets heartbreaking pathos. She writes with an indirect, veiled structure, never revealing too much, letting readers piece together the catastrophes that always seem to be looming on the horizon.

Some stories revolve around family and other inextricable relationships. In "Taj Mahal," the grandson of a famous film director writes a biography of his grandfather and in doing so upsets a tight cadre of aged actors, who routinely meet to reminisce about better days, "waiting with patience and humility to be issued new roles." Eisenberg pulls off her uncanny narrative structures with panache. Rarely do short stories feel so full. Your Duck Is My Duck is both quirky and profound, brimming with the dangers and wonders of life. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset

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