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Your Duck Is My Duck: Stories

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  1,794 ratings  ·  290 reviews
6 Hours and 55 Minutes

A much-anticipated collection of brilliantly observant short stories from one of the great American masters of the form, performed by a remarkable cast: Deborah Eisenberg, Julianne Moore, Josh Hamilton, and Wallace Shawn.

At times raucously hilarious, at times charming and delightful, at times as solemn and mysterious as a pond at midnight, Deborah Eis
Published September 25th 2018 by HarperAudio (first published November 25th 2013)
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Average rating 3.61  · 
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 ·  1,794 ratings  ·  290 reviews

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da AL
Was prepared to love, love, love it, but most of the ingenious writing was used up in the first story.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookbox
"It's not so hard to figure out why I'm not sleeping. What I can't figure out is why everybody else is sleeping."

"Still, there was always the feeling that one would get around to being young again. And that when one was young again, life would resume the course from which it had so shockingly deviated."
Read By RodKelly
Deborah Eisenberg is definitely a talented writer whose stories are layered nuanced, written with and wonderful sensitivity and eloquence. This collection is comprised of six long stories that are most effective when dealing with characters in the throes of some familial crisis. I liked 3.5 out of the 6 stories (meaning one story was good until about half way through). Overall though, this collection is one that I'm quite sure will not have an enduring place in my mind. ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with all short story collections, this is rather a mixed bag - some great selections ('Taj Mahal' and 'Recalculating' were the standouts) and a few duds (most notably, the longest story, 'Merge'). This was my first brush with Eisenberg, but on the strength of this, I'd read more. ...more
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engrossing stories. Longer than I’m used to for short stories, but they make great use of their length. So much going on, but all tied together meticulously and naturally. Moving and a pleasure to read.
Jan Rice
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, short-stories
My friend read a collection of this author's short stories, and it was her reaction that got me looking for one. The price was right for this one: 99¢ on Kindle. There's probably an automatic way to find the page count; my estimate is 28 pages.

I am going to say something on the meaning of the title. If you think that would be a spoiler for you, stop here, but there isn't much more I can say about the story per se.

"Gentleman," he said, with a tiny bow, "I have a great deal to gain from this trans
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Last week I watched a movie at home that I hadn’t seen in years and as it was playing, my memory recalled the first and only time I had seen it at Film Forum, the emblematic movie theater when it was still on Watts Street (that’s how long ago it was…) in SOHO on a cold NYC winter night. My dinner with Andre, directed by Louis Malle is a cult film which I thought I had entirely forgotten, but to my surprise, it was just waiting to be revived in the labyrinthic aisles of my mind. The plot is simpl ...more
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The past week I have been in thrall to Deborah Eisenberg’s new book of just six stories. I could have finished the book more quickly, but each of the stories in Your Duck is My Duck was so complex, so suggestive of multiple ideas, that I never read more than one story each evening. Then I reread a couple. In fact, I began with the audio version, read by the author and other distinguished voices, but I quickly checked out a library copy so that I could both read and listen. In “Taj Mahal,” for ex ...more
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Eisenberg is clearly a talented writer, but I'd put her in the category of a writer's writer (comparable to a poet's poet). A writer's writer is someone other writers admire for their style. She doesn't engage her readers with wonderful characters or a compelling plot. Her turns of phrase are original but they don't always work (I don't have the book in front of me, as it was a library book that I've returned, so I can't give examples). For my taste, she's too original: somewhat pretentious and ...more
Rick Slane
I thought the title was the best thing about this.
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: female-faves
A quality I find most arresting in women is a certain kind of intellect. I am not sure I can adequately describe it. It is sort of edgy, drollery packaged in a faux-innocence, wit that slices profoundly yet does not maim, both languid and alluring. She reeks of smart but remains a lady, fully in control of her femininity, confident in herself. And she realizes how fractured and fragile she is and you are and will convey that to you with or without words, or conditions, on either partner. You und ...more
Kathryn Bashaar
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Lots to love in these stories. Gorgeous writing: a tornado is a "dancer filled with God." Oh!! And weighty themes, like the destructiveness of late capitalism, are subtly woven into the narrative.
But I am an old-fashioned lover of plot, and the plots in these stories were mostly thin. Also, in most of the stories, you're not sure where you are in time and place, and I find that disconcerting. I felt especially at sea reading "The Third Tower," in which a teenage girl is sent to "the city" (whic
Tom Evans
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Deborah Eisenberg is a master of her craft. I was amazed by how layered and intricate each story was, characters so complex and developed in such a short span of time.

These stories achieve depth and meaning which many authors spend a whole novel to achieve, Cross Off and Move On & The Third Tower were two stand outs for me in this collection, both ones I'll be coming back to. A clear choice for the NYT Notable Books of 2018.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
I love short stories, but each one of these left me wishing I hadn’t wasted those precious hours of my life on this weird, disjointed trash. I have never given a book one star before or written a bad review before, but I am making an exception for this one. It was special-level terrible.
Chris Haak
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'm not a great fan of audiobooks: I find it more difficult to concentrate than when reading a regular paper book or ebook and I often don't like the voices so get irritated easily.
Your Duck Is My Duck was like that for me. On top of that, I found the stories not very interesting. I'm just not interested in clever intellectuals talking about nothing. Ah well, maybe I just missed bits because I was falling asleep...
Liz Cettina
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
I love how she talks about aging and how she writes time
Jill Meyer
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm usually not one for short stories. How many writers can put a mini-story - with characters and plots - into the 50 or so pages most short stories run? But Deborah Eisenberg has written six mini-stories that are incredibly readable in her new book, "Your Duck is My Duck".

I didn't like all six of the stories; I thought "The Third Tower" was a bit too science-fictiony for my taste. But the others, and most particularly "Recalculating", were tiny gems which were like snapshots into the characte
Helen McClory
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some really moving stories in this collection - a wee bit of of Mary Robison flavour but maximalised? I liked the passage of time.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: story-collection
I had never heard of Eisenberg, but I am glad she showed up on my radar, which may have had something to do with the title, although there are very few birds mentioned in these witty, smart, and introspective stories. It seems like the main theme, is aging, dealing with the future and gazing back at the past.
(2.5) Who could resist such a title and cover?! Unfortunately, I didn’t warm to Eisenberg’s writing and got little out of these stories, especially “Merge,” the longest and only one of the six that hadn’t previously appeared in print. The title implies collective responsibility and is applied to a story of artists on a retreat in Europe. “The Third Tower” has a mental hospital setting. In “Recalculating,” a character only learns about an estranged uncle after his death. The two I liked most were ...more
Kasa Cotugno
As with many collections, the results are uneven, but weighted more on the positive side. Each story has the power of a novel, some more than others. I believe my favorite was Merge, which switches POV giving an entirely new aspect of each character with every switch.
Chris Roberts
Oct 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Never mind the woman her sentences styled,
forget her contemplative walks across the mind,
Deborah Eisenberg's disturbing of societal mores,
her characters are chained to ritual and ruin.

The author scares up any and all, in order to obfuscate non-extant plots.

Raise me up...

Chris Roberts, God of Impossibilities
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adored the title story, and the last two stories, which were gorgeous and wild, with a beating heart. I learned much from these three stories, by a writer so admired by writers I admire. I found the second story stuffed with characters I could not connect with, and the others similarly difficult to get into, but I'm so glad I finally began to read Eisenberg and look forward to reading more of her stories. ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How are you these days, they asked, and at this faint suggestion that they'd been monitoring me, a great wave of childish gratitude and relief washed over me, dissolving my dignity and leaving me stranded in self-pity.

I'd brought my computer, but maybe I could actually just not turn it on, and the dreary growth of little obligations that overran my screen would just disappear; maybe the news, which---like a magic substance in a fairly tale---was producing perpetually increasing awfulness from ro
Sarah Tittle
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is this weird cover? The edition I read features a gorgeous painting by Paul Klee that really reflects Eisenberg's playful yet serious fiction.

Have not read much of her stuff, and I'm not sure this is a great introduction. Each of the stories is really different, except for the way she drops us into each one with no explanation. I had to reread the beginnings of a few when I was in the middle, which I thought was because I wasn't paying attention, but then I really liked it, wondering wher
Apr 08, 2019 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I'm stopping after the first story for a variety of reasons, but prime among them is that I got exactly the same feeling I do when I read a certain kind of 19th century Russian story: "You have a Point about society and I just can't quite figure out what it is." And that's fine when I'm two hundred years and ten thousand versts away, but I think I should know what a contemporary author is trying to say.

Because if you don't get her Point, "Your Duck Is My Duck" is very boring. An artist is asked
M.A. Reads
"Comic, elegant, and pitch-perfect." -- Vanity Fair

"There aren't many contemporary novels as shudderingly intimate and mordantly funny as Eisenberg's best stories." -- The New York Times Book Review

"Eisenberg's stories possess all the steely beauty of a knife wrapped in velvet." -- Boston Globe

These are some examples of the lavish praise that dots the book jacket of Eisenberg's most recent short story collection. As you may have surmised from my charitable 2-star review, I do not agree with the
May 17, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"It's odd-no matter how you feel about a place, it's as though you exchange something with it. It keeps a little bit of you, and you keep a little bit of it."
This short story collection was just so confusing to me that I was never sure exactly what I was reading. I can definitely see how it would appeal to other people, it just wasn't for me. I enjoyed the first story and got what I think I was supposed to get from it (I really like the above quote from it) but from there it went downhill for me
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
These stories gave my book group lots to chew on since each story ends abruptly without much having been resolved; rather they serve as empathetic and starkly described observations about major life decisions people make, very often impulsively, mistakenly, or by happenstance, and the regret or bewilderment with which they are felt in retrospect. There is an undercurrent of Eisenberg's musings about her ability to realistically convey our realities. ...more
Cynthia Rice
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These are stories about moments & people who may live on in my brain forever.

The perfect story leaves a footprint oThe perfect story leaves a footprint on the reader like it was a long impactful novel whose characters keep popping up in your head for months. For me, that describes almost all of Eisenberg's stories, especially the ones in this latest collection.
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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

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