Twilight Of The Superheroes by Deborah Eisenberg, 2006
The magic trick:
Story elements forming thematic compounds
There are elements of this story that work marvelously – the way age seems to reveal no wisdom but instead only nostalgia. There are elements of this story that I would claim don’t work at all – the trips into the world of Nathaniel’s comic book and the entire superhero motif.
But most of all, there are elements. Lots and lots of elements. This is a crowded, complex story. It’s so crowded that the elements don’t coalesce into a single whole; they form larger compounds of theme and ideas.
I’m not sure I particularly liked this story, but it certainly gives you a lot to think about.
And that’s quite a trick on Eisenberg’s part.
Nathaniel and his friends have been subletting – thanks, obviously, to Uncle Lucien – for a ridiculously minimal rent and on Mr. Matsumoto’s highly tolerable conditions of cat-sitting and general upkeep. Nathaniel and Lyle and Amity and Madison each have something like an actual bedroom, and there are three whole bathrooms, one equipped with a Jacuzzi. The kitchen, stone and steel, has cupboards bigger than most of their friends’ apartments. Art – important, soon to be important, or very recently important, most of which was acquired from Uncle Lucien – hangs on the walls.
And the terrace! One has only to open the magic sliding panel to find oneself halfway to heaven. On the evening, over three years ago, when Uncle Lucien completed arrangements for Nathaniel to sublet and showed him the place, Nathaniel stepped out onto the terrace and tears shot right up into his eyes.
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