What Happens Next? Matters of Life and Death


Praise for What Happens Next? Matters of Life and Death


“These are some of the finest, if not the finest, personal essays I have ever read. With exacting
and exquisite prose, Douglas Bauer achieves the truly remarkable here: he plumbs the heart of
his mid-western family with brave and naked fairness, rendering his own mortality with a stead-
fastly clear-eyed and life-loving attention to all that is essential, our shared human frailty and
resilience and those tangled but lasting ties that bind. What Happens Next? Matters of Life
and Death
is a masterful, soul-nourishing work, and I simply cannot recommend it highly enough”
—Andre Dubus III, author, Townie: A Memoir

“This remarkable memoir-in-essays respects time but is not enslaved to it. Bauer moves in circular
fashion amongincidents that foreshadow later ones and recall earlier. It’s not a linear but a spiral
history, which touches us and then touches again. As for the language: in each sentence each word
seems the only possible choice. How easily the prose lets us read it; what artistic intensity made
it that way.”
—Edith Pearlman, author, Binocular Vision,
winner of the 2012  National Book Critics Circle Award

“In What Happens Next? Doug Bauer circles his own life, that of the farm boy who discovers
cities, and those of his parents who didn’t, with piercing intelligence and lucidity. Whether he’s
describing snow in Iowa or oysters in New Orleans, Bauer is a master of the telling detail. This is
a beautiful book about mortal matters and the great lessons of time that are written on the body.”
— Margot Livesey, author, The Flight of Gemma Hardy

“Douglas Bauer’s prose is as bracing as clear, cold water, its depths stunningly visible from the
surface. What Happens Next? is a work of extraordinary empathy and great art.”
—Bernard Cooper

“A routine medical procedure is the starting point of this beautiful and original book of essays in
which Douglas Bauer threads the story of his physical self in and out of the remembered and
reconstructed past. The result is a gorgeous meditation on history, mortality and love.”
—Ann Packer, author, Swim Back to Me


Excerpt from What Happens Next? Matters of Life and Death (Download .pdf)


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