BOOKS: HARD KNOCKS

UNSENTIMENTAL STORIES THAT PACK A REAL PUNCH

Readers of Deborah Eisenberg's earlier story collections, Transactions in a Foreign Currency and Under the 82nd Airborne, already know she writes like a dream, both figuratively and literally. Her gift for projecting a variety of moods and voices sets her apart from the usual, narrowly focused short-story writer.

Far apart, as indicated by the range of Eisenberg's new collection, All Around Atlantis (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 244 pages; $23). Anna, of the title story, recalls her childhood living with her mother and the buried memories of aunts and uncles who died in Hitler's death camps. Overheard scraps of dinner-table conversation are...

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