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Book reviews for "Bauer,_Douglas" sorted by average review score:

The Stuff of Fiction: Advice on Craft
Published in Hardcover by University of Michigan Press (January, 1901)
Author: Douglas Bauer
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Much better than his fiction
Bauer is no great shakes as a novelist, but he has written a creditable how-to book.

for all writers
What a beautiful book! I can't remember when I've read such an eloquent work about the craft of writing, making me wonder why any of us pay any attention to advice about writing which arrives in less artful form ("the long half-life of sorrow" is one of the many well-turned phrases which clings to memory). This essay collection (nonfiction writers have as much to gain as fiction writers from reading the book) is elegant, compelling, succinct, and breathtakingly clear without being condescending. The author (who also writes gorgeous fiction) covers all of the most important aspects of craft--openings, dialogue, character, high events (dramatic moments), sentiment vs. sentimentality, and closings, and includes advice from the best of the other writing "gurus" and wonderful passages of first-rate literature to illustrate points made. The Stuff of Fiction is truly a book for writers at all levels. I felt an immediate need to underline when I began reading; the book made me seriously re-think a novel on which I'm currently working. What more could a writer ask.

Illuminating for any writer or reader of realistic fiction
If you want to understand more about how a good piece of realistic fiction is put together, read this book. It provides both rules and the wisdom to make it clear that if a writer is on the right track, he or she can go ahead and break those rules.

*The Stuff of Fiction* explains to ordinary readers what has gone wrong when a book suddenly turns unsatisfying (for example, when it doesn't know when to end), the book gives new writers a set of guidelines to keep in the back of their heads while they are slaving away, a kind of frame to check the day's work against, and the book offers experienced writers a welcome articulation of the things they have been trying to do since they began this strange line of work.

The book explains how to start a story (maybe at the beginning, maybe not), how to write dialogue that doesn't thud or crawl on the page, how to create characters with mixed blessings and curses (like a human being in other words), how to give drama its necessary subtlety, how to create sentiment not sentimentality (a discourse on how to write with taste, which is kind of like explaining how to play jazz, but amazingly it really works), and how to end a story. Bauer uses examples effectively--taking apart work from Denis Johnson, Toni Morrison, Alice Munro, and yes Wm. Shakespeare--and writes directly but also elegantly.

Douglas Bauer is the author of three novels, each of which I loved (he never does the same thing twice, but since the prose always contains the same steely twists, you know it is the same guy), and teaches at the Bennington MFA Program.

Writing programs, take note--instructors can cut to the chase by judicious use of this handy and straightforward volume. I won't say it's the Strunk and White of contemporary realistic fiction writing--only time can tell that--but it's as close as I can imagine. Full disclosure requires me to say that I know Douglas Bauer personally, but honestly, I would say all of this if I didn't know him. It is a terrific and useful volume.

Published in Paperback by Crest (June, 1990)
Author: Douglas Bauer
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Dexterity- A Woman's Journey
A woman refuses to live her life in quiet desperation, instead starts an improbable escape only to be called back by her son.

Great, quiet stuff
This book has a nice leisurely yet disturbing pace to it- a lot like a David Lynch film. Not to give away too much of the simple plot, I found the main character's journey on the road to be frightening and beautiful. I honestly felt completely alone reading this book, even on the train.

The Book of Famous Iowans: A Novel
Published in Paperback by Owl Books (September, 1998)
Author: Douglas Bauer
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Adult reminiscing gets in the way of the boy's narrative.
I am mystified as to why The New York Times raved over this novel. Though the author has a nice sense of place, he incessantly injects the dull reminiscing of the adult Will into what should have been a compelling story of the summer his family fell apart. He'll put in an aside to the effect of: "And though I didn't realize it at the time, the way my father told that joke at the restaurant was an indication of a side of him we didn't often see, and now I understand that . . ." Blah, blah, blah. Get on with the narrative, already! It also strikes me (as the mother of 2 boys) as extremely unlikely that this mom who loved him through childhood and into adolescence would desert him and disappear without a trace. A disappointment.

a writer through and through
Bauer is a writer through and through. Neither this nor any of his other books ("Dexterity." "The Very Air") has anything ground-breaking to say, so thematically this is just another coming-of-age novel. But it (they) makes for a great reading experience. He writes like a dream--the pure sensuousness of his prose is a pleasure. Yet it has an appealing simplicity--it never lapses into preciousness or syntactic complications. He also has a wonderful sense of place--he's written with equal authority on New York State ("Dexterity"), the Southwest ("Very Air"), and Iowa. The Fox

I Can't Get This Book Out of My Mind!
I've read the other reviews posted here including the Kirkus diss. What troubles me about this novel is that it is so true--what the boy feels, what his father feels and how he is unable to say it, how his mother feels and is unable to act it out, and how his friend Bobby feels. That's a minor miracle of writing. I too thought of Madison County, but this is real literature, not a romance to cry over. I identify with the boy, as many of us must, and it's too bad that the author doesn't give us a mother who at least would contact her son in later life, having declared to her husband that she was taking him away. But that's not an essential plot point. Bauer gets inside the skin as well as the head. His use of words, his sentences, his writing style, have been banging around in my head for week. Read it and see for yourself.

Prairie City, Iowa: Three Seasons at Home
Published in Hardcover by Putnam Pub Group (September, 1979)
Author: Douglas. Bauer
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interesting portraits of the kind ofmen who seldom say much
Enjoyed his slice-of-life descriptions of people he spent time with. At first I was puzzle at the choices of characters, all men (incuding his father)and mainly those who did manual labor. Where was the rest of the town? Then I realized that he examining the people that he (and me) had least understood growing up.

The Very Air
Published in Paperback by Henry Holt (Paper) (December, 1997)
Author: Douglas Bauer
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Nice Try
Good premise; snake oil salesmen are fun. But writing shows inexperience, and asides from author to reader are gauche and jejune. Ending seems unmotivated: why return to a radio station in flames? Fictionalizing of historical fact is well done, but invention would have been better. Female lead character is precious. Oddly, characters are most believable when bizarre, as if author finds it difficult to deal with what's normal. Worth reading author's next novel; this one a transition piece, because labored and flawed.

California Landscapes: Los Angeles, Big Sur, San Francisco, Yosemite, and Death Valley (Touring North America)
Published in Paperback by Rutgers University Press (September, 1992)
Authors: Martin S. Kenzer, Douglas J. Sherman, Robert A. Rundstrom, Bernard O. Bauer, and William K. Crowley
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Halberstadt, Studien Zu Dom Und Liebfrauenkirche: Eine Preisschrift = de Pulchri Principiis
Published in Paperback by Akademie Verlag (January, 1996)
Authors: Bruno Bauer, Winfried Schultze, and Douglas Moggach
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Laboratory Inquiry in Chemistry
Published in Paperback by Brooks Cole (30 June, 2000)
Authors: Rich Bauer, Doug Sawyer, Richard Bauer, Douglas Sawyer, and James P. Birk
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The Lincoln-Douglas triangle--with naughty Mary Lincoln, seduced by latest Paris fashions
Published in Unknown Binding by Silver Spring Press ()
Author: Charles J. Bauer
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The Philosophy and Politics of Bruno Bauer
Published in Hardcover by Cambridge University Press (March, 2003)
Author: Douglas Moggach
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