Your Duck is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg
With Your Duck is My Duck (Ecco, $26.99) her first new collection of stories in twelve years, Deborah Eisenberg gives us a true, funny, and troubling picture of our world, and a chilling glimpse of the future. The present is unevenly divided between the haves and have-nots; the haves worry about insomnia and whether they’ll see the Taj Mahal before they die. “Merge” gives an indelible close-up of this rapacious class, focusing on the son of a corporate despot who’s been cut off by dad but is gamely following in his footsteps with impressive displays of entitlement and self-justification. In the title story Eisenberg’s outrage on behalf of workers and indigenous peoples of Western-exploited tropical paradises comes through in searing language. The gatherings at the beach paradise are “more tournaments than dinner parties,” and after a contingent of accountants blows through, there’s nothing left but “crumbs.” While the wealthy pull the strings, artists pull back. A progressive puppeteer stages the “simple moral fable” of a monarch oblivious to the fact that “the serfs and donkeys are already inflamed with rage.” Sure enough, the island explodes.