Twilight of the Superheroes

Deborah Eisenberg

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Twilight of the Superheroes

Twilight of the Superheroes Deborah Eisenberg is nearly unmatched in her mastery of the short story form Now in her newest collection she demonstrates once again her virtuosic abilities in precisely distilled perfectly shaped

  • Title: Twilight of the Superheroes
  • Author: Deborah Eisenberg
  • ISBN: 9780312425937
  • Page: 499
  • Format: Paperback
  • Deborah Eisenberg is nearly unmatched in her mastery of the short story form Now, in her newest collection, she demonstrates once again her virtuosic abilities in precisely distilled, perfectly shaped studies of human connection and disconnection From a group of friends whose luck in acquiring a luxurious Manhattan sublet turns to disaster as their balcony becomes a fronDeborah Eisenberg is nearly unmatched in her mastery of the short story form Now, in her newest collection, she demonstrates once again her virtuosic abilities in precisely distilled, perfectly shaped studies of human connection and disconnection From a group of friends whose luck in acquiring a luxurious Manhattan sublet turns to disaster as their balcony becomes a front row seat to the catastrophe of 9 11, to the too painful love of a brother for his schizophrenic sister, Eisenberg brilliantly illustrates the lives of people rubbed raw by what the fates have sent them Vanity Fair.

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    One thought on “Twilight of the Superheroes

    1. Glenn Sumi on said:

      The final word in Deborah Eisenberg's marvellous collection of stories is "wartime," and, like every syllable she writes, it's precisely placed and significant.These are tales for an uncertain time. Eisenberg's characters live lives that teeter on a ledge, with currents of violence, physical or emotional, about to knock them off at any moment.The fallout of 9/11 hovers over the book, but only appears literally in the title story, a challenging elliptical tale partially set in a luxurious apartme [...]

    2. Joey on said:

      This book is emblematic of everything that's wrong with contemporary "literary" fiction. The only thing I can find of any interesting literary value here is the last paragraph or so of the titular first story. This book was reviewed well by a lot of publications, and I can't for the life of me understand why. I can only assume that the people who reviewed this book well are the same kind of people who like the whiny, affected fiction they print in The New Yorker and Diane Johnson's terrible nove [...]

    3. Nicole on said:

      I just finished this book a few days ago and, looking through the table of contents now, I'm already having trouble recalling most of the stories. Partly this is because most of the titles don't connect to their stories in any recognizable way, so when I see "Window," it doesn't trigger "oh, yeah, the one where that creepy guy takes the girl to his isolated cabin to babysit his kid." Partly it's also because the stories themselves often didn't stick with me. The two elements most contributing to [...]

    4. Sarah on said:

      When people say that they don't read short stories because they want more character development, these are the stories to point them towards. Every character is fully human, with human hopes and baggage frailties. But if they say also that they don't read short stories because not enough happens, well, this book won't change their minds. Most of the plots in this book read like an anecdote about a friend that you might relate to another friend. "She went to New York to be with her family after h [...]

    5. Chris on said:

      Okay, I've now finished the book and I have to say that while it did get a little better, it wasn't by much. The first story is AWFUL. She lectures you on things you already know, repeats the same crap over and over, and while the disjointed sections didn't really bother me, they didn't really add up to anything for me. It just seems like the story was pretty pointless. Unless the point was that after 9/11 we're just totally adrift. Maybe in the year or so afterwards it felt like that, but I don [...]

    6. Alan on said:

      picked up from library Saturday, read title story last night - reaction to witnessing 9/11, pretty good and they get better, but maybe it's just me getting accustomed to her styler once I agree with the quote on the cover: 'concentrated bursts of perfection'. more later (hopefully)Clare, my wife, read this after me and she said she enjoyed the beginnings of all the stories and some (Like it or Not) all the way through, but found the rest tailed off into 'wankery'. That is people talking about wh [...]

    7. Magdelanye on said:

      Where has Deborah Eisenberg been all my life? Or maybe I should ask, how did I miss her?I picked this volume of short stories on a lark, as I was leaving the library, and what with the lurid cover, and especially after I had read a few of the negative reviews, did not anticipate their brilliance. In fact, I kept thinking that it was a fluke that I loved one, two three. well all of the stories except for the last one.Everything that happens is out there waiting for you p133to be continued

    8. nina on said:

      "The dining room was an aerie, a bower, hung with a playful lattice of garlands. Its white tile floors were adorned with painted baskets of fruit, and there were real ones scattered here and there on stands. But even as the waiters glided by with trays of glossy roasted vegetables and platters of fish, even while Harry took it upon himself to order for her, knowledgeably and solicitously, Kate felt tainted. Despite the room's conceit that eating was a pastime for elves and fairies, Mrs. Reitz's [...]

    9. Mikhail Yukhnovskiy on said:

      The structure of the stories is quite unusual to me, Deborah Eisenberg isn't much concerned with the traditional structure. Her stories are very intimate and sudden, as life itself. She ponders problems, inner crises and unspoken feelings of small people. The stories are in some ways distinctly american, but when one continues reading the gentle tapestry of the sorrows, breakdowns and losses transcends nationality. These stories are very vividly and gently human. They are about all of us, even t [...]

    10. David on said:

      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 to the genre, to the point where I actually allow myself to believe that the book in question really will be "exhaustingly fascinating", "spirited and masterly", the next Jim Shepard, Alice Munro, Chekhov, Lorrie Moore, John Cheever. Hope springs eternal.Yet somehow, things never quite turn out as promised. Usually, t [...]

    11. Douglas on said:

      I've been reading this on and off for the past couple of years. From what I've read about Deborah Eisenberg, she's a self-taught writer and sort of emerged slowly and quietly to the literary scene. That's how these stories feel, too. There's nothing mechanical about them, nothing you'd expect from a writer that followed all the rules, made the necessary connections, and published with fanfare. The stories in this collection are unlike anything I've read, each an original masterpiece in emotional [...]

    12. Chris Blocker on said:

      Blech!I tried to muddle through this collection, but it was difficult. I had no idea what the author was talking about half the time. I couldn't figure out if she just had ADHD or I had an attention deficit disorder of my own. Take, for example, the following passage from the title story"And actually, Russell (who seems to be not only Amity’s friend and possible suitor but also her agent) has obtained for Amity a whopping big advance from some outfit that Madison refers to as Cheeseball Editio [...]

    13. Kasa Cotugno on said:

      These stories deal with today, but more specifically, the "today" of four years ago. The title story is a gem, focussing on 20somethings whose nova like promise has begun to collapse even before the events of 9/11, for which they have an unfortunate front row seat. Shifting focus Eisenberg presents the preceding generation along with its shattered American dream of immigrants for their children and the transformation of New York into an "open wound." Eisenberg is able to compress entire historie [...]

    14. Aaron on said:

      "By stripping away quotation marks and the informational fat that might provide obvious explanations, by thrusting readers into the middle of a conversation with characters we have yet to meet properly or playing hot potato with point of view, Eisenberg tests just how much can be left out before a story drowns in enigma." So says Ben Marcus in his effusive New York Times' review, and I don't know if this statement better captures exactly what I found dreary about this book, or the critical aesth [...]

    15. Greg on said:

      The best of these stories — the title story and "Some Other, Better Otto" — are perfectly misshapen masterpieces chronicling The Way We Live Now. These are stories not only about the biggest questions of ethics and identity, but also about the processes by which we go about asking and answering such questions for ourselves.A few of the stories lack the clarity and audacity of the collection's best, and occasionally Eisenberg's structural experimentation becomes frustrating or precious. Still [...]

    16. Jenny (Reading Envy) on said:

      My frustration with these stories comes from feeling, as a reader, that I simply was not clever enough to understand the subtext in at least half of them. I wanted so much to know what was going on but I just wasn't getting enough information. Several were clearly influenced by the events of 9/11. I saw this on a list of some of the best books of the decade (2000-2009) but I'm not sure I'd recommend these stories.

    17. Lynn on said:

      Eisenberg is a very interesting writer. Sometimes I couldn't follow the logic of her sentences. But I was always impressed with her use of language and her sympathy for her characters. Her writing is not gimmicky. The stories are organized from best to less good (in my opinion). I liked all of the characters very much. Especially with the first very long story, I felt like I could have stayed with those characters for much, much longer. I would like to read more of her writing.

    18. Alison on said:

      I was disappointed by this book. I remember loving The Collected Stories of Deborah EisenbergSo Far, and these stories didn't grab me the same way. They seemed to be *trying* to live up to a disaffected postmodern approach. Maybe I'm just not with it right now, but at some points I couldn't even figure out the abrupt time shifts. There were a few well-turned phrases, but not enough to make the book. Oh well.

    19. Pamela on said:

      This is a collection that will last--and continue to show what the possibilities are for the short story. I've read each story more than once, and some several times, because they stay exhilarating and moving. Eisenberg doesn't sound like anyone else, doesn't write like anyone else, and she brings me pleasures I can't find anywhere else.

    20. WordsBeyondBorders on said:

      'Twilight of the Superheroes' is the Eisenberg's fourth collection (of 7 stories) of short stories. This is the latest collection that has been published so far. All the four collections are available in a single volume 'The Collected Stories Of Deborah Eisenberg'. Some pointers on her style before you start reading her works. The stories do not always have things tied up neatly at the end, there is no progression from point A to B to C. In several cases there are several strands shown to the re [...]

    21. Simone Subliminalpop on said:

      Raccolta molto buona. Magari la prima impressione potrà essere di troppa frammentarietà e/o visione esageratamente periferica, ma basta solo un po’ di partecipazione in più da parte del lettore, tutto qui, per capire che il motore di queste storie è qualcosa che tocca ognuno di noi: la paura di non essere in grado di affrontare il mondo e se stessi.Tra i racconti migliori: “La finestra”, “La vendetta dei dinosauri” e “il difetto del disegno”.

    22. Tito Quiling, Jr. on said:

      Sometimes my inclination for interesting covers exceed my judgment for the content, particularly when I'm going through piles of books in a limited amount of time. Although, part of me immediately thought of reading a watered down version of urban samaritans, perhaps even retired superheroes. That being said, the title may have a catchy title but the content says otherwise. While the stories seem to start out decently, one gradually loses the attention you have at the start and at one point, one [...]

    23. Josh Ang on said:

      This is the first time I've tried reading Deborah Eisenberg and I'm simultaneously impressed by her non-linear narrative as much as bothered by it. 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, [...]

    24. Eddy Ozoma on said:

      Her writing is incredible. Every word is in service to the page. She brilliantly encapsulates character and creates worlds in just a few sentences. But for all of that world building and characterization, there's no plot. It's a book of short stories with surprisingly little story. Each piece is character introduction, maybe an event, lots of beautiful exposition, and then the story ends. I don't need wild adventures, but there's nothing compelling in these pages. It's too bad. Reading this book [...]

    25. Zack Quaintance on said:

      Deborah Eisenberg's 2006 short story collection, "Twilight of the Superheroes," is a natural extension of the stories in her 1997 collection, "All Around Atlantis." In the earlier volume, many of the protagonists were American's abroad, struggling with privilege and their roll in the suffering of marginalized populations exploited to ensure the continued prosperity of the United States. In Superheroes, Eisenberg's protagonists are home, grappling with a country thrust into turmoil.It's fitting t [...]

    26. Alan on said:

      In the past, if I had a choice between reading a novel and a collection of short stories, I would almost always go for the novel. After reading these stories by Deborah Eisenberg, that will no longer be the case. These are longish stories, six of them, with imaginative writing and characters that have stayed with me. Just what I hope to find in a novel. Funny, quirky, but also sad and frightening. I like the fact that Eisenberg's stories don’t depend on a conventional beginning/middle/end. Ins [...]

    27. Tung on said:

      A NY Times Notable Book of the Year from 2006 that got tons of press, this book is a collection of six short stories filled with the tension of lives post 9/11. The book’s title is the title of its first story, a look at the fractured lives of four twenty-something New Yorkers who were subletting an apartment with a view of the Twin Towers. “The Flaw in the Design” focuses on the tension between a son and his father; the son despises his family’s wealth and upbringing and his father’s [...]

    28. Katie on said:

      My new favorite short story writer. These stories are strange, and abstract, and daaark, dark dark, and I loved them all. A story about family and memory that is, tangentially, the best writing on September 11th I've ever read. One about true love and finding independence that is actually about abuse and sisterhood, and things one can't escape. One about schizophrenia and genius, that is actually about what all of us have inside us that is incurable and glorious and devastating. One about old ag [...]

    29. Melanie on said:

      You know, I don't hear too much about Deborah Eisenberg. Admittedly I am not exactly hanging out with Bill Buford and Charles McGrath, and spend 90 percent of my time talking to a baby (who frequently mentions Lorrie Moore and Alice Munro, but that's pretty much it.) But I find that she writes some of the best, richest, most alive, complex and affecting short stories I've ever read. I'm not sure this would be my favorite book of hers - I am partial to Transactions in a Foreign Currency, maybe be [...]

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