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Spells of Levitation

Lorna Sage: Deborah Eisenberg, 3 September 1998

All around Atlantis 
by Deborah Eisenberg.
Granta, 232 pp., £8.99, March 1998, 1 86207 161 6
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... into documentary of one sort or another – confession, travel, postcards from the front line. Deborah Eisenberg’s writing is so striking because it is impeccably, formally fictional. Her stories have epiphanies, they have closure, they have a discreet patina of style which is nearly matt, has no shiny gloss, but is nonetheless worked to a certain ...

Tear in the Curtain

Tessa Hadley: Deborah Eisenberg, 17 August 2006

Twilight of the Superheroes 
by Deborah Eisenberg.
Picador, 225 pp., £14.99, July 2006, 9780330444590
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... all too easy to sound schmaltzy, or sanctimonious, or quivery with frisson. So the title story of Deborah Eisenberg’s new collection approaches its subject with reticence. The narrative, shared between Lucien, the owner of a New York art gallery, and his nephew Nathaniel, is assembled warily, piece by piece, each separated on the page from the others ...

I hate this place

Christian Lorentzen: ‘Your Duck Is My Duck’, 6 February 2020

Your Duck Is My Duck 
by Deborah Eisenberg.
Europa, 240 pp., £18.99, August 2019, 978 1 78770 182 3
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... Deborah Eisenberg​ spent the summer of 1963 at a school for labour organisers and civil rights activists in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. She was 17. ‘It was a proudly Klan county,’ she told an interviewer, ‘and we all ended up briefly in jail.’ On her return to Chicago, she was surprised to find that nobody believed her stories of racist cops and police harassment ...

Excessive Weeping

Lauren Oyler: Nicole Flattery’s Stories, 10 October 2019

Show Them a Good Time 
by Nicole Flattery.
Bloomsbury, 238 pp., £14.99, March 2019, 978 1 5266 1190 1
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... the most concrete aspects of the book are provided by the dialogue, which, as in Lorrie Moore or Deborah Eisenberg, often contains much of the stories’ movement as it delivers funny little zaps to the main character’s perspective. In ‘Parrot’, a young woman working as a temp laughs at a co-worker – ‘every office must have someone sad to ...

Modernity’s Undoing

Pankaj Mishra: ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’, 31 March 2011

A Visit from the Goon Squad 
by Jennifer Egan.
Corsair, 336 pp., £14.99, March 2011, 978 1 78033 028 0
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... and worldly wisdom about the workings of power, bring to mind the short stories of Paul Bowles and Deborah Eisenberg. Remarkably for a writer of her generation (she was born in 1962), Egan seemed like an expatriate, looking back with biting irony at her fellow Americans and their insufficiently examined expectations of wealth, comfort, beauty and fame. In ...

What are we allowed to say?

David Bromwich, 22 September 2016

... the literary gala at which the award was to be presented. In a separate and personal dissent, Deborah Eisenberg asked why French satirists of Islam were being singled out for honours when the US had plenty of home-grown satirists among the membership of college fraternities: ‘We are PEN America after all, not PEN France, and the fraternity brothers ...

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