The Beckoning World
Fiction by Douglas Bauer
University of Iowa Press, November 2022
Douglas Bauer’s newest work, The Beckoning World, is set in the first quarter of the twentieth century and follows Earl Dunham, whose weeks are comprised of six days mining coal followed by Sundays playing baseball. Then, one day, a major-league scout happens on a game, signs Earl, and he begins a life he had no idea he could even dream. But dreams sometimes suffer from a lovely abundance, and in Earl’s case, her name is Emily Marchand. They fall quickly and deeply in love, but with that love comes heartbreaking complications. The Beckoning World gathers a cast of characters that include Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, a huge-hearted Pullman steward offering aphoristic wisdom, and countless others, not least of which is the 1918 Spanish flu taking vivid spectral form. At the center is a relentless love that Earl and Emily are defenseless against, allied as they are “in this business of their hearts.” Douglas Bauer has written several books, including Prairie City, Iowa: Three Seasons at Home (Iowa, 2008). He teaches writing at Bennington College and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.