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Your Duck Is My Duck: Stories

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,080 ratings  ·  173 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,/>A
Published September 25th 2018 by HarperAudio
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Average rating 3.63  · 
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 ·  1,080 ratings  ·  173 reviews

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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.
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.
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.
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 exampl ...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.
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.
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
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...
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
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.
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.
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.
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 awful
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 to stay w
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A smart snappy collection of dilemma filled prose/stories that will make you take a look at your “ wordsmithing” skills, and feel a bit lacking, oh heck, very lacking.
Clever phrasing that immediately plant visual snippets in your head that will make you laugh out loud, tickle you, and even shock you into changing how you perceive your own actions.
Love it!
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.
Natalie Serber
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
She is one of my literary heroes. So smart, so spot on in her observations and, funny, funny, funny!
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Enjoyed each story, and each has pieces of brilliance, but the only story I found completely gratifying was "Cross Off And Move On". That story is almost perfect, strongly encourage you to read it.
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deborah Eisenberg writes with an elegance I found compelling from the get-go. She would most likely be considered what some would call a “writer’s writer”. If that’s true, I’ve come to find that I must be a “writer’s reader”. Of the six stories published within Your Duck is My Duck, I found all six to be deeply moving in their own ways. Eisenberg touches most on the effects of time and aging and skillfully charges each story with a fair bit of emotional oomph. There is significantly more depth here t ...more
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deborah Eisenberg is a favorite short story writer of mine, and while this wasn't my top favorite collection of hers there was plenty here to like. Her wonderfully knotty plots and un-pin-downable relationships, and the language is, as ever, really unexpected and full of delights. Language and what it does/can do/can't do is a theme that runs through many of the stories here (and many of her stories in general, but it was thrown into particularly sharp focus in this collection). My favorites, “C ...more
The short that sold the book was Merge. I think this is the most stylized of the stories, it goes on about the concept of language while demonstrating how difficult it is for three people who use the same language to understand each other, and for me, was the best of the lot. The rest were very good as well, with honorable mentions to Recalculating, in which a young man attends a memorial of an uncle he's never known but is well loved by countless others, and Cross Off and Move On about a girl and her mom and her thr ...more
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really great collection of stories here. She is so good at alternating between time and her stories have wonderful, dreamlike qualities as her characters deal with reconciling what is with what should have been. Also, highly recommend another story collection of hers, Twilight of the Super-Heroes.
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.
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-s
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-story
Wow did I love listening to these stories. They flow like a melody, a symphony.
Marjorie Ingall
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grownups
My favorites were the first and last stories. The last one, “Recalculating,” was perfect.
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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.
“language . . . what exactly was it, and how did it happen? Celeste shrugged. “Some people think it was just business as usual—mutation, adaptation, selection, mutation, adaptation, selection, a slow continuity kind of thing, for hundreds of thousands of years. But other people think it happened incredibly fast, within about forty thousand years. And that this capacity that made it possible—this built-in capacity for the operation that lets us merge expressible things into other expressible things to make more and more complex expressible things—appeared in an instant! Which makes complete sense, even though it could not be more bizarre. One tiny molecular irregularity in one tiny fetus, in a very small population of humans somewhere in Africa! One instant! A universe-altering mutation!” “But what about . . . ,” he began, but ran aground. “What about the other stuff? The stuff we can’t manage to think?” “Yeah,” he said. “Or . . . well, I mean, yeah.” “Uh-huh, that’s a problem. Actually, Friedlander was pretty interested in that. In his opinion, language developed as a way for us to deceive ourselves into believing that we understand things, so then we can just go ahead and do stuff that’s more ruthless than what any other animal does. According to him, we can formulate like a fraction of what’s inside our heads and that what’s inside our heads is mostly . . . drainage, basically, sloshing around, that doesn’t have too much to do with what’s actually out there . . .” They looked at each other, and vague shapes, like amoebas, rose, morphed, blended, and faded between them. “But at least it’s all ours,” she said. “It’s the main unique thing we’ve got. It’s our gift.” 0 likes
“I was looking out at cliffs and the sea, all sluiced in delicate pinks and yellows and greens and blues, as if the sun were imparting to the sleeping rock and water dreams of their youth, dreams of the rock’s birth in the earth’s molten core, the water’s ecstatic purity before it was sullied by life—as if the play of soft colors were the sun’s lullaby to the cliffs and the sea, of endurance and transformation.” 0 likes
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