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

Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart

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.