Your Duck Is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg review – darkly comic storie – AuthenticAfrican

Posted on by Anthony Cummins

The American writer’s first book in 12 years showcases her singular, scintillating prose

The wry, singular stories of the US short-story writer Deborah Eisenberg aren’t easy to pin down. Temporally fluid, chatty without being workaday, they don’t rely on plot yet aren’t person-has-thoughts narratives either and are often built from a dizzying array of moving parts. If there’s a secret, she isn’t giving it away, telling interviewers that she considers writing a “holy” act not to be “approached casually”, but also that she writes by “just sitting down and seeing what my hand does”.

The pieces in her new book, her first in 12 years, immerse us in a range of perspectives, from that of a dog-owning widow in need of home help to a schoolboy holding tight at bedtime after learning about terrestrial rotation. Eisenberg trusts us to stay afloat: when the artist narrator of the title story falls in with a wealthy couple, Ray and Christa, who recently bought one of her paintings, she thinks: “They owned Blue Hill? I had given Blue Hill to Graham”, telling us on the same page about her day job at “Howard’s photo studio”, with nothing said by way of introduction to either name.

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