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Cover for Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart

Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart

Joyce Carol Oates


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Joyce Carol Oates adds to her extraordinary body of work with this stunning National Book Award Finalist filled with violence, love, racism, and a shared secret in mid-century New York.

In the early 1950s in an industrial town, racial boundaries may keep people apart—or bring them together explosively. Iris Courtney, who is white, is the only witness when handsome Jinx Fairchild, a black basketball player, kills a white man in order to protect her.

The secret link between Iris and Jinx is not only their attraction to each other, but a bond of passion and guilt that has formed between them. This one irrevocable, tragic act shapes their lives and alters their destinies in Joyce Carol Oates’s finest, emotion-packed novel—a work critics call a masterpiece, the best work of America’s best writer of contemporary realism.

Praise For Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart

Praise for Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart

“Fiction of extraordinary imaginative power.”—Marilynne Robinson, The New York Times Book Review

“An impressive performance...fearless....There seems to be no erotic passion, no violence of act or language, no addiction, no fatal failure of nerve that is beyond Oates’s reach when it comes to rendering it in fiction.”—Seattle Times/Post-Intelligencer

“Oates is a master novelist....Thrilling’s hard to stop reading.”—USA Today

Plume, 9780452265813, 416pp.

Publication Date: March 30, 1991

About the Author

In addition to many prize-winning and bestselling novels, including We Were the Mulvaneys, A Book of American Martyrs, Black Water, Because It Is Bitter and Because It Is My Heart, and Broke Heart Blues, Joyce Carol Oates is the author of a number of works of gothic fiction including Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque, a World Fantasy Award nominee; and Zombie, winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best Horror Novel, awarded by the Horror Writers’ Association. In 1994, Oates received the Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award in Horror Fiction. She is the editor of American Gothic Tales.