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Twilight of the Superheroes: Stories Hardcover – January 24, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
The author is an acquired taste who makes the reader work at understanding the motives and actions of her flawed but all-too-human characters -- this is not beach reading. For those who enjoy the craft of her story-telling, the reader is referred to last year's "Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg" and to 1996's "The Stories (So Far) of Deborah Eisenberg" -- the latter is the reprinting together of her first two books of stories while the former is a 'best of" collection from all her published works.
The title story, of course, says this the best. And as a 17-year-old who expects to reside one day in no place other than a city like New York, I finished it with tears in my eyes. Not because the story was dark, or polemic-sounding, which it was, but because, counter to those strides, there is empathy for the characters, and an underlying, godless faith that we as people will survive, continue to wake up in the morning and live the lives we make for ourselves. The world in which this story was written is not the world that existed ten years ago. This is a time of monumental change, and I welcome the recent movement of Post-9/11ism with open arms.
Here are six of her latest stories. If you are a fan of hers, here is your next fix. If you are new, you are in for a special delight. Here are characters living out their lives as best they can. They are limited by their own abilities, their own beliefs, their families, and basically the beds that they have made for themselves.
Ms. Eisenberg is provessor of fictional writing at the University of Virginia.
Throughout the collection, there were hardly any characters that I cared about. Not only that, there were hardly any characters that I could even identify as anything other than sketches -- loose shapes on a page with names like Eli or Otto or Oliver. Yes, the names of these forms experienced things, or said things, but I could barely recall their statements from one page to the next. And, after a time, I didn't care to.
By the time the final pages for these stories came, I thought the author accomplished which she set out to do: demonstrate her cleverness to the New York Times Book Review and the committee for the National Book Award. What she failed to do is show a reader how one can live, or why they should, through her words.
They're actually about something, too. This collection is her apotheosis as an artist (thus far); and she has
just won a well-deserved MacArthur "Genius" grant!
This narrative device of moving back and forth between the present and the past is most evident in the titular story about a bunch of young adults whose lives converge at a Manhattan loft. Their fortunes reflect the magnificent view of the vibrant city and also plunge as the twin towers collapse on 9/11.
In each of the six stories in this collection, an ambivalent main character is presented. We have the intense, loving brother in 'Some other, better Otto', the school-marmish Kate in the company of a suave, debonair foreign gentleman in suitably romantic settings of old churches and museums in 'Like it or not', the naive and ditzy Kristina who finds herself saddled with a mysterious free-spirited lover's young son in 'Window', and the wife/mother coping with geographical as well as emotional displacement in 'Flaw in the Design' who turns to adultery for solace.
Perhaps the appeal for some readers would be that none of these characters are perfect and therefore real. However, at times these characters grate on my nerves simply because they are so contrary. Otto, while coping with a schizophrenic sister whom he adores, seems unnecessarily hostile to his patient lover, William, and patronisingly scathing towards his other siblings and their families. While humorous and witty, these exchanges tend to be too smart-assed and show up qualities of the characters that fail to attract this reader.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In case anyone missed it, Deborah Eisenberg is one of the writers who objected to the PEN Foundation honoring the Charlie Hebdo magazine writers, artists and staff who were... Read morePublished 7 months ago by SFDolceVita
I made it through the first story and honestly have no idea what the story was. It was a random collection of non description characters rambling about nothining. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Nicholas M.
I have to say I am fond of the short story as an important and talent revealing for within literature. That said I was not fond of this collection. Read morePublished on December 19, 2013 by Mark McLaughlin
I like the length (long) and ambition of these stories. I felt she gave a lot of thought to big questions, what 9/11 meant to the sense New Yorkers had of the world (Twilight of... Read morePublished on April 7, 2010 by Verita
I can't believe these stories are only earning three stars. If you were not 'conned' into reading these stories and actually enjoy literary fiction, you will probably love these... Read morePublished on June 25, 2009 by Lisa D. Summers
There is no doubt that Ms. Eisenberg is a talented writer. Her style and structure are like a trim little sailboat coming out of the mist, and the closer it comes - the more open... Read morePublished on January 5, 2009 by Bryan Byrd
I may just have to give up on reading short stories. Every so often, I am seduced anew by the breathless, hagiographic blurbs on the cover of the latest hip author's contribution... Read morePublished on December 31, 2007 by David M. Giltinan
I stopped reading after the first two stories. Intriguing ideas for a short story collection, and great cover, but poorly executed. Read morePublished on April 4, 2007 by Avid Reader