Starred Review. Short-story master Eisenberg delivers, with signature intelligence and humor, six elegant, soulful new tales in her fifth book of stories. In a nuanced and compassionate family portrait, "Some Other, Better Otto," complex expressions of love and despair circle around a high-strung brother and his prodigiously talented, mentally ill sister. Several other stories also portray families pulling simultaneously apart while cleaving together, but each character and each motive is unique in Eisenberg's hands. The extraordinary, near–novella-length "Window" follows a young, naïve woman into a marginal, backwoods life with a secretive and dictatorial man who has business in arms dealing and a toddler son he's left in her care. The title piece is set in Manhattan around the events of 9/11 and focuses on the post-collegiate ennui of a group of 20-something friends facing an uncertain future. The author is at the top of her form delving into the varied but devastating truth that, even after an apocalypse, people still have to lie in the beds they've made, unable to sleep. A terrific addition to the oeuvre of one of America's finest and most deeply empathetic short story writers. (Feb.)
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There aren't many contemporary novels as shudderingly intimate and mordantly funny as Eisenberg's best stories. (Ben Marcus, The New York Times Book Review)
A masterly collection . . . Instead of forcing her characters' stories into neat, arbitrary, preordained shapes, Deborah Eisenberg allows them to grow organically into oddly shaped, asymmetrical narratives--narratives that possess all the surprising twists and dismaying turns of real life. (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
Eisenberg's filament-thin weavings of desire, obligation, and missed opportunities remind one strongly of Henry James. . . . Eisenberg is a master of condensation and reconstruction, making beautiful murals from broken glass. (O, The Oprah Magazine)
Ambitious and resonant . . . Whether the subjects be lovely young girls grown old or waning superpowers, Eisenberg makes masterful short work out of marking their decline and fall. (NPR's Fresh Air)
The deepest pleasure in Ms. Eisenberg's stories is their vertiginous unpredictability, like obstacle courses the author jumps and rolls and shimmies through, clasping the reader to her like an infant. . . . These are fearless, fierce, light-bearing stories, offered in defense of what still matters. (The New York Observer)
Dazzling . . . Her distinctive voice and mastery of the short story elevate her to the ranks of kindred spirits like Gina Berriault, Alice Munro, and even Chekhov. (Time Out New York)
With every story in this superb new collection, Deborah Eisenberg, one of America's finest writers, offers new ways of seeing and feeling, as if something were being perfected at the core. The half dozen long stories here put her light years ahead of most story writers. (Alan Cheuse, San Francisco Chronicle)
Outstanding . . . Eisenberg offers enough insight and intelligent observation to amply justify her reputation as the American Alice Munro. (Yvonne Zipp, Christian Science Monitor.)
Like other current masters of the short story--Joy Williams, Lycia Davis, Ben Marcus--Eisenberg works her own fertile ground so faithfully and assiduously that she brooks no comparison. She simply writes like no one else. (Lisa Shea, Elle)
He stories are so skillfully crafted that they seem composed more of shapes and textures than of printed words. Reading her makes you wish, as you study the family in front of you in the grocery line, that you could see their thoughts rendered as one of Eisenberg's stunning inner monologues (Judith Lewis Los Angles Times) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.