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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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... language reaches for outrage and finds hollowed-out forms; straining to be adequate to horror, it is all too easy to sound schmaltzy, or sanctimonious, or quivery with frisson. So the title story of DeborahEisenberg’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 ...

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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... making things up is meant to be passed on. Still, contemporary stories are always falling out of fiction into documentary of one sort or another – confession, travel, postcards from the front line. DeborahEisenberg’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 ...

I hate this place

Christian Lorentzen: ‘Your Duck Is My Duck’

27 January 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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... DeborahEisenberg​ 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 ...

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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... self-reckonings of the provincial in New York and the American abroad; their terse lyricism, and worldly wisdom about the workings of power, bring to mind the short stories of Paul Bowles and DeborahEisenberg. 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 ...

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, 978 1 5266 1190 1
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... a former prostitute has ‘a personality that was best suited to short interactions’ – but some of the most concrete aspects of the book are provided by the dialogue, which, as in Lorrie Moore or DeborahEisenberg, 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 ...
21 September 2016
... In the event, more than two hundred members of PEN signed a letter declaring their intention to boycott the literary gala at which the award was to be presented. In a separate and personal dissent, DeborahEisenberg 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 ...

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