[1945 - ]
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Profile created February 1, 2008
Douglas Bauer was married to the author
The Book of Famous Iowans (1997)
When will Vaughn's mother LeAnne falls in love with Bobby
Markum, the star pitcher of the town ball club, she scandalizes not only
her husband, son, and eccentric mother-in-law, but also all the
God-fearing inhabitants of New Holland, Iowa. Looking back with an adult's
more worldly perspective, but still wounded by her abrupt departure, Will
recounts the story of his parents' courtship and marriage during the
Second World War, his life on the family farm, the erosion of his parents'
affection, and their memorable final break. Douglas Bauer's The Book of
Famous Iowans is about the undoing of a marriage and, thus, a family
as well as a childhood. And looming above them all is the extraordinary
figure of Will's grandmother, who from her upstairs apartment presides
over the fulminations beneath her, constructing her "Book of Famous
Iowans" in an unceasing attempt to fathom the Janus-like faces of fame and
infamy. This is a brilliant and memorable novel.
The Very Air (1993)
Luther Mathias sells "snake oil" in scrubby West Texas dirt
towns. He learns that substance is never a substitute for style and
eventually develops his own remedies that promise to cure any ailment a
man might suffer. In time his imagination and ambition combine to mold him
into medicine's version of Elmer Gantry--loved and hated, imponderably
wealthy and famous, powerful, and pursued.
Douglas Bauer's profound and exquisitely written first
novel quickly established him as one of America's best new writers when it
was first published in 1989. Now back in print, this darkly poetic novel
is imbued with the same tough and tender understanding of the emotional
lives of real people that distinguish Bauer's subsequent novels,
The Very Air and
The Book of Famous Iowans.
Death by Pad Thai: And Other Unforgettable Meals
Food isn’t just a gustatory pleasure; it is the
stuff of life. At its best and most memorable, a meal becomes a story—and
a story becomes a feast. In this collection of essays by some of the
country’s finest writers, food is the central player in memories both
exquisite and excruciating. Steve Almond recounts the gleeful daylong
preparation of a transcendent lobster pad thai dish.
Sue Miller reveals that after a lifetime
of practical cooking, she is finally fed by a man who presents food as an
offering, made just for her. Aimee Bender ponders her lifelong envy of
what everyone else is having for lunch. Richard Russo relates the
celebratory day he and his wife spent eating their way through haute
Manhattan—and departing utterly famished.
Expertly compiled and edited by Douglas Bauer—including pieces by Amy
Bloom, Peter Mayle, Jane and Michael Stern, Ann Packer, and Andre Dubus
III—this unforgettable collection presents food as education, test,
reward, bait, magnet, and, most of all, gift. Gathered here are meals that
sate our most complex palate, the appreciation of life.
The Stuff of Fiction: Advice on Craft
In this book, prizewinning novelist and popular
creative writing instructor Douglas Bauer (The Book of Famous Iowans)
shares the secrets of his trade. Talent, as Bauer acknowledges, is the
most crucial element for a writer and cannot be taught. But without a
regular habit of work, and a perseverance of effort, no amount of talent
can come forward and be recognized. His lively and candid essays on
subjects critical to the fiction writer’s success demystify the essential
elements of fiction writing, how they work, and work together.
Bauer’s focus is on the building blocks of successful fiction: dialogue
(the intimate relationship between characters talking and the
eavesdropping reader), characters (the virtues of creating fictional
characters that are both splendidly flawed and sympathetic), and dramatic
events (ways to create moments that produce an emotional and psychological
impact). There are also chapters on crafting effective openings and
memorable closings of stories and on the vital presence of sentiment in
fiction versus the ruinous effect of sentimentality. By assuming the point
of view of someone at the task, engaged with the work, inside the effort
to bring an invented world to life, The Stuff of Fiction speaks to
writers of all ages in a pleasurable yet practical voice.
Prairie City, Iowa: Three Seasons at Home (1979)
This is the story of a small-town midwestern life as
seen through the eyes of a man who left it for urban adventure but
returned to observe and comment on its solid values.
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