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All Around Atlantis: Stories

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  127 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Deborah Eisenberg's deeply etched and mysterious stories focus on individuals grappling with dislocations, ironies, and compromises levied by ordinary reality and the vivid, troubling worlds her characters inhabit. With lyrical and gleaming prose, Eisenberg pries open daily life to explore the hidden mechanisms of human behavior.

ebook, 243 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1997)
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Jun 19, 2007 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: friends
Like your elegantly perfumed mother running her fingers through your hair. Her fingernails at your scalp. Her murmuring on the telephone across the room. Her talking to you very clearly as an adult, across a table. Your mother smokes, or used to. Your mother is at peace with the fact that her sculptures are not high art. Your mother is more interesting than you are.
There's no questioning the intelligence, surprising vision, and reach of these tales, nor Eisenberg's ability to reveal at once the limited and unfathomable consciousness of young girls. With each one I read, I began by thinking, "Ah, here's a situation. How will this character get out of this fix?" Perhaps my question wasn't the right one, but given that many of the setups are a yarn spinner's dream, I was often disappointed when barely an arc was realized. I wanted to be moved--not just airlif ...more
Mystery clings to a story that haunts us long after it is finished. The title story in Deborah Eisenberg’s short story collection “All Around Atlantis,” demonstrates this enigma; her characters embody it. She blends modern and ancient styles of storytelling—stream of consciousness, mystery, and tragedy—to create richly layered characters and penetrate their painful secrets without destroying their mystery.
Deborah Eisenberg begins the story after Anna notices her mother Lili’s former lover Peter,
I saw this book here earlier when I was at work and gave three stars without remembering much about it besides the title story, but then I came home and flipped through, and now I'm not sure about the three stars, or about much of anything.... So I thought that instead of figuring out how to register for the social work licensing exam, I'd sit here and think aloud (so to speak) about Deborah Eisenberg. I've only read this and Under the 82nd Airborne, which is out of print (and IMO should not be, ...more
Didn't finish this collection or come anywhere close. Gave the book away as soon as possible. The stories were long-winded and self-involved in my opinion. Can't even remember much of what they were about, simply that I didn't want to read them anymore. Someone who prefers a different style might love this one, but I wanted things to happen and the stories to eventually end.
The title story in this collection captures the WWII emigre trying to adjust to a post-war world, in another country and culture. Reminded me of some conversations with just such an emigre in the early 1980s in New York City.

"Someone to Talk To" punched me hard. In only a few pages, I was reliving the end of my marriage. I had to put the book down for a couple of days to recover.

Stories set in Latin America capture some of the complexities of describing cross-cultural experience.
This is a book of short stories. Not just any ordinary set of short stories, but stories of people caught out by life in different countries and cultures. What makes these stories interesting is that they all capture the thoughts of the central character who doesn't feel as if he or she belongs in that society.

Everyone has thoughts that we don't voice, fears we don't share, jubilation we can't show at times, and these stories expose all these hidden inner thoughts and show them off in their bril
Patrick McCoy
It seems that The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg have just been published, so I just read the final volume of her stories on my shelf, the out-of-print All Around Atlantis. I think it is one of her strongest collections. I usually don’t like the collected books of short stories, because they’re so big and unwieldy-I prefer these slim volumes that can be read in several sittings. It’s right up there with Under The 82nd Airborne. Eisenberg’s stories are usually distinguished by great dialo ...more
David Glenn Dixon
To achieve such flow in the face of the ineffable is a real feat. Passages that have every right to feel labored are weightlessly, even if sometimes horribly, dreamlike. I'm withholding the last star because she has an unfortunate if rare tendency to weave little slubs of cliche tightly next to clean strands of genuine insight. (And no, this isn't a deliberate move, it's a flaw.)
Eisenberg is a brilliant writer. Her short stories are peppered with lines that literally stop you, wherever you are on the page, and force you to go over them again and again to mine their rich imagery and layered meaning. Some of the stories lack momentum. But the imagery is intense, and there is rich food for thought in each and every story: what is memory? justice? love?
Jessica sent me on my trip with this one mostly because there was a story about a girl who freelances as a decorative painter and I do that too and so it was befitting for me to read... It definitely expresses the depressing sentiments involved with the business! Or is it the depressing sentiments involved with the people who commission such business. Either way, perceptive story.
Gorgeous, evocative use of language, but reminds me why I seldom read short story collections. So often they seem written by people who can't come up with an ending for their elaborate plots. These ones almost literally end mid-sentence. The enjoyment does not outweigh the frustration for me. She hooks me, then...
I read the first two stories and decided not to finish the book. The stories created a mood of mystery, displacement and danger. They were well written, but these feelings are not the ones I am seeking in my reading.
I love Eisenberg! I never totally understand what's going on in her stories, but the mood is huge. And I like trying to figure out what's going on in the dialog. It takes a slow, patient reading, though.
Eisenberg's stories stay with you. The atmosphere, the moods...I almost feel like I can see how the light looked when I remember these stories, what the characters' faces looked like.
Matt Duke
i didn't understand these stories at all. one star, but maybe more learned readers would like it? i have an English degree, but these tales were beyond me...
Aug 18, 2008 M marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This was recommended to me yesterday as a masterful collection of short stories; I'm looking forward to reading it.
Deborah Eisenberg's stories are lacerating.
Very memorable short stories.
Aniela marked it as to-read
Feb 22, 2015
Liz marked it as to-read
Feb 11, 2015
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Josh Watkins marked it as to-read
Jan 21, 2015
Josh Daniel
Josh Daniel marked it as to-read
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Jiapei Chen marked it as to-read
Dec 28, 2014
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Dec 09, 2014
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Born in Chicago, Eisenberg moved to New York City in the 1960's where she has lived ever since. She also teaches at the University of Virginia. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Yale Review, Vanity Fair, and Tin House. She has won the Rea Award for the Short Story, a Whiting Writer's Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and three O. Henry Awards.
More about Deborah Eisenberg...
Twilight of the Superheroes The Collected Stories The Stories (So Far) Transactions in a Foreign Currency Under the 82nd Airborne

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