Your Duck is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg

"Instead of forcing her characters’ stories into neat, arbitrary, preordained shapes, [Eisenberg] allows them to grow organically into oddly shaped, asymmetrical narratives—narratives that possess all the surprising twists and dismaying turns of real life.”


- New York Times

Deborah Eisenberg with Alexander Chee

Tuesday April 16, 2019
07:00 pm

Tags: Event

In Deborah Eisenberg's new story collection Your Duck Is My Duck, she presents us with characters swimming or drowning in a disintegrating environment—among them, the daughter of a Hollywood actress, forced to reflect on her life with her mother when a “tell-all” memoir is published; an entitled young man who falls into an unlikely love affair with a human rights worker on a mysterious quest; a woman whose face illustrates her family’s history; a girl receiving treatment for an inexplicable psychological affliction; a politically conscious puppeteer and a struggling artist; and a young man attending the funeral of an uncle who always captivated him, but who he never even met.


Like the work of Alice Munro, Eisenberg’s stories contain a type of mysterious richness—and they demand to be reread. Reading (and rereading) these stories, readers will slowly realize that Eisenberg is revealing to us something real and true about the world we live in, about our lives. In a moment in the brilliant story “Recalculating,” an aging dancer reflects that “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.” The collection is full of such astonishing passages of beauty, but also truth.


Eisenberg read from her work and spoked with Alexander Chee about the process and inspiration for the stories in her new collection.



Photo by Diana MichenerDEBORAH EISENBERG is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow and the recipient of honors including the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, a Whiting Writer’s Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Eisenberg has published four collections of stories: Transactions in a Foreign Currency, Under the 82nd Airborne, All Around Atlantis, and Twilight of the Superheroes. Her first two story collections were republished in one volume as The Stories (So Far) of Deborah Eisenberg. All four volumes were reprinted in 2010 in The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg. She is a professor of writing at Columbia University.



Photo by M. SharkeyALEXANDER CHEE is the author of the novels Edinburgh, The Queen of the Night, and the essay collection How To Write An Autobiographical Novel. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic, and an editor at large at VQR. His essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, T Magazine, Tin House, Slate, Guernica, and Out, among others. He is winner of a 2003 Whiting Award, a 2004 NEA Fellowship in prose and a 2010 MCCA Fellowship, and residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the VCCA, Civitella Ranieri and Amtrak. He is an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College.