Selected Works

This is not a book about teaching. It is about the limits and complexities of even our most benevolent urges--what we can give to others and how we lose ourselves.
Jesse Smoke has it all. One problem though. She's a woman, who plays, better than any man, a man's sport.
"An entertaining old-school western [in] the reluctant-hero tradition of Charles Portis (True Grit)." The New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice'
A brilliant exploration of human darkness, delusion, and desire for redemption.
--Beth Henley, author of Crimes of the Heart
An experience so intimate... that it almost blinds you with love.
--O- The Oprah Magazine
A beautiful and aching novel, alarming in its wisdom and treatment of one of the great terrors, loneliness, and one of the great mercies, forgiveness.
--Rick Bass
"Sometimes harrowing, sometimes funny, often luminously beautiful and always profoundly imaginative and moving..."

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A Hole in the Earth

If one of the purposes of literature is to illuminate human inconsistencies and frailties, failed attempts to communicate, and redemptive possibilities, this richly rewarding new novel by the author of Almighty Me wins stars in each category. On the verge of turning 40, narrator Henry Porter endures a summer in purgatory. The black sheep of his respected family, he is a grade school history teacher who augments his income by frequenting the race track, an obsession that exasperated his wife, who left him years ago, taking their young daughter, Nicole. Now 18, Nicole turns up on his doorstep in Washington, D.C., throwing Henry into a paroxysm of nervous guilt. Trying to reconcile his feelings of parental failure with his compulsion to bet on the horses, he can barely greet Nicole before he rushes off to make a daily double wager. Then, when his patient and understanding lover, fellow teacher Elizabeth Simmons, tells him she's pregnant, Henry can't cope. He is, indeed, emotionally stunted, trapped in an adolescent limbo caused, he believes, by the abiding disapproval of his father, a well-known judge. Afraid to make a decision, preferring to gamble and let fate decide rather than act decisively, Henry is blind to the implications of his behavior. He resists any suggestion that his gambling addiction might be pernicious. In a plot that develops its rising tension with seamless ease, Henry's lies and evasions catch up with him in a wrenching series of disasters, a nightmare that keeps unrolling until he reaches the nadir of his existence. With a delicacy and subtlety that indicate a mastery of his craft, Bausch captures and sustains the reader's sympathy for self-destructive Henry. At last, in a moving denouement, Henry achieves a transcendent moment of self-worth and connection. Bausch's profound empathy for his characters, his wise understanding that the texture of life is composed of ambiguities, failures, guilt feelings and a few successes contributes to a flawlessly expressed novel.

---Publisher's Weekly (Starred Review)

Photo by Peirce Howard

Photo by Peirce Howard

Photo by Tim Bausch