Douglas Bauer has written three novels, Dexterity, The Very Air, and The Book of Famous Iowans, each of them set in small towns, in Upstate New York, in Texas, and in Iowa. Their subjects and interests are as varied as their settings, although reviewers have pointed out that they all concern themselves in some fashion with mothers’ unpredictable presences and absences and the effect of that unreliability on their sons.
He has also written two non-fiction books, Prairie City, Iowa and The Stuff of Fiction. The first covers a year of reunion with the tiny farm village of the title, where Doug was raised and to which he returned at the age of 30 in order to try to understand the place where he grew up and, not incidentally, some things about himself as he reached that critical age. The second is a series of essays devoted to the craft of fiction writing. The essays cover the elements of character creation, dialogue, narrative strategies, how to start and end a story, and many more. There are exercises accompanying the essays.
In addition to the books Doug has written, he’s edited two anthologies, Prime Times: Writers on their favorite television shows; and Death by Pad Thai and Other Unforgettable Meals. These anthologies feature contributions from some of the most prominent writers of our time, including Sue Miller, Andre Dubus III, Aimee Bender, Richard Russo, Claire Messud, Nick Hornby, the late and very great Barry Hannah, and on and on.
Doug’s stories and essays have appeared through the years in The Atlantic, Harper’s, Esquire, Tin House, The New York Times Magazine and Sunday Book Review, The Massachusetts Review, Agni, and other publications.
He’s received grants in both fiction and non-fiction from The National Endowment for the Arts, and he’s taught at several colleges and universities, including Harvard, Smith, The University of New Mexico, Rice, and since 2005 at Bennington College. Doug’s courses there include literature classes in the works of Charles Dickens, his favorite author in the language, as well as Twentieth Century writers such as Willa Cather, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.
The Book of Famous Iowans
by Douglas Bauer
"Douglas Bauer is a consummate storyteller, his prose is hypnotic, charged with beauty and pain, his characters drawn with intelligent and pristine detail… This is a novel possessing tremendous heart, and that much less affable quality—soul."
—Melissa Pritchard, Chicago Tribune
The Very Air
by Douglas Bauer
". . . the rise and fall of that quintessential American hero, the salesman; the ending of Hollywood's golden age; the birth of broadcasting. It is material in which Mr. Bauer justifiably delights and, when he is at his best, is more than a match for.... a very funny book." —The New York Times Book Review, Robert Houston
by Douglas Bauer
"Here is an extraordinary writer. He tells his story with a density that we associate with Henry James. Dexterity is a great and original book." —William Kennedy
Douglas Bauer's profound and exquisitely written first novel tells the story of Ed and Ramona, high school lovers who married young.
"Bauer's prose is rich, startlingly resonant, stylistically powerful." -The Detroit News
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