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Download Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart Audiobook, by Joyce Carol Oates
3.83 out of 53.83 out of 53.83 out of 53.83 out of 53.83 out of 5 3.83 (41 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joyce Carol Oates Narrator: Constance Towers Publisher: Phoenix Books Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2009 ISBN:
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Lonely Iris Courtney learns about life in the small town of Hammond, New York, where blacks and whites live separate lives. She learns of love from her parents - hard-drinking, hard-living Duke Courtney and his stormy marriage with the lovely but troubled Persia Courtney. But Iris learns most from Verlyn Jinx Fairchild, star of the basketball courts, his hopes for a way out of Hammond pinned to a college scholarship. Their lives are shattered one terrifying night when Jinx defends Iris against Little Red Garlock, the vicious hillbilly who hates both blacks and whites alike. And forever after, Jinx and Iris are locked in a bond of violence, shame and secrecy. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sondra Wolferman | 2/16/2014

    " Halfway through this novel I was prepared to give it five stars, mostly because of that inimitable JCO style that could make laundry spinning in a dryer sound riveting. The first half ;of the story is set in upstate New York, with interesting, working-class characters and a fast-paced plot. The characters are fully explored, especially the two mothers, Persia Courtney and Minnie Fairchild. The former is an alcoholic floozy, and the latter a hard-working but beaten-down product of our nation's racial divide. Considering how fascinating the mothers are, their children are bores. Iris Courtney is a spacey, self-centered young woman with a victim mentality, which is perhaps intentional, for later in the story, presumably at a point where she is finally getting her head together, going to college, and building a future for herself, she becomes the victim of a violent sexual assault. Minnie Fairchild's son, while more interesting than Iris, is filled with resignation and unresolved guilt over the crime that takes place early in the novel. Once the children are grown and go their separate ways, which takes place around two-thirds of the way into the novel, the plot begins to unravel, until it fizzles out completely in a long, drawn-out conclusion that seems to have little or nothing to do with the beginning. I've been a JCO fan for decades and have read both hits and misses. This one is a 'miss' for me, not worthy of the same author who wrote the masterpieces 'Blonde', 'Black Water', and 'We Were the Mulvaneys'. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 2/14/2014

    " This is one of my most favorite books. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 cara | 2/2/2014

    " Why do I always forget? I do not like Joyce Carol Oates! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marj | 1/26/2014

    " One of my favourite books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 1/21/2014

    " I believe this is my favorite JC Oates book...it deals with racial injustice in the 1950's set in New York state "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jesse | 1/18/2014

    " Holy. Guacamole. This one was go-o-o-o-od. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sally | 1/4/2014

    " My favorite Joyce Carol Oates. Great discussion of racism. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rich | 12/16/2013

    " A lot of anxiety with thinking Jinx was going to get chewed up in the American justice system, but thank G-d, that didn't happen. Just life, and guilt, and fear, and sadness. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denise | 12/7/2013

    " Joyce Carol Oates' books are usually worthwhile. This one was written almost twenty years ago. It is set in the mid-1950's to mid 1960's and discusses race and relationships quite well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Consuelo Roland | 11/22/2013

    " Incredible, marvelous, one of those books that changes the way you read other books. One sentence nera the end that stunned me with its power. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lindsay | 10/15/2013

    " The description of the mother's alcoholism is so terrible I don't think i took a drink for a week after reading this book. She's a great writer! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Coralie Bru | 10/10/2013

    " I feel this novel missed the point, constantly standing far from its subject. I love Joyce carol Oates' writing and sense of characters' minds but here she left me on the side of the road. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kat | 9/29/2013

    " It's accessible and I'm sure JCO was very proud of her handling of race issues in a somewhat complex way. --Not complex enough to satisfy me, I guess, and I don't give her prose the adulation the book jacket seems to expect, either. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pam | 9/28/2013

    " Joyce Carol Oates is just so amazingly talented. This is a terrific, powerful and haunting book. The title is so perfect, and after reading the book I had to track down the full poem (by Stephen Crane) the title was taken from. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Twila | 9/17/2013

    " I read this the summer before I started practicing. while working at the city pool. It was a great break. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alicia | 6/7/2013

    " This book reminded me why I like JCO so much! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Danielle | 4/13/2013

    " This book was so bizarre. I don't even know what to write. Usually I'm a big fan of J.C.O. buts this book was kind of icky. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 AIDY | 9/16/2012

    " Resonates part of myself. Great book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melissa Fowler | 4/14/2012

    " I struggled to develop any attachment to any of the characters in this book. Except for the uncle, I found the characters to be flat, unexceptional. I'd heard good things, but I wouldn't count this amongst JCO's best. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amy | 2/11/2012

    " I had to give this one up. The first half was really good. Second half~not so much. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 e b | 11/29/2011

    " Sometimes you want a neat ending. You want the drama then the resolution and you want it to be neat and tidy. Life is not neat and tidy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ct | 11/2/2011

    " Gritty. Black high school basketball star kills another a man that was insulting him and a white girl. The secret affects their lives. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Miller Sherling | 10/21/2011

    " Lovely, painful, lyrical. Thinking about race in this country is necessary, and painful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zoe | 10/20/2011

    " One of my all time favorite books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Arika | 8/21/2011

    " Interesting book. Looks at the dynamics race played/plays in day-to-day lives. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mo | 7/28/2011

    " I liked the title so much more than the book itself... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allison Lyons | 5/7/2011

    " Although more than a bit slow to get into, by the end I was hooked on this tale of racial discrimination in upstate NY circa 1950-1960s. An absorbing story of right and wrong, and following your heart. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 AIDY | 4/29/2011

    " Resonates part of myself. Great book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alicia | 4/15/2011

    " This book reminded me why I like JCO so much! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 2/13/2011

    " Oates's prose is extremely vivid, piercing and gut-wrenching. The story slides around unpredictably like a moray in dark water, but then it seems like it went the only place it could go. Very different than "We Were the Mulvaneys." I liked this one much better. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Poly | 1/4/2011

    " I hated this book. A teacher who I disliked made us read this in high school and now I won't go anywhere near Joyce Carol Oates.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 9/12/2010

    " I believe this is my favorite JC Oates book...it deals with racial injustice in the 1950's set in New York state "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 9/10/2010

    " Was intially disappointed by the end, but I have come to think that's the point: Super Realism. Life is disappointing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Twila | 9/10/2010

    " I read this the summer before I started practicing. while working at the city pool. It was a great break. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 e | 9/9/2010

    " Sometimes you want a neat ending. You want the drama then the resolution and you want it to be neat and tidy. Life is not neat and tidy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pamela | 9/6/2010

    " Probably one of the best story tellers ever!!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deb | 8/18/2010

    " I find myself trying to compare it to Anderson's Speak. Similar, but very different... Goes farther inside the character and for more years. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren | 7/13/2010

    " This was the first Oates book I read and the one that made me fall in love with her. Like most, if not all Oates' books, it follows the tragic story of a young girl and her struggles to move beyond a tragedy she experiences as a youth. Very Gothic too like all Oates' works. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 3/13/2010

    " Gritty, violent. One of those books that leaves you a little bruised. Oates is a little heavy-handed with the tagnames. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zoe | 3/9/2010

    " One of my all time favorite books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathryn | 2/9/2010

    " Beautifully written story of two poor families in 1950s-60s small-town New York, linked by a murder. The kind of characters and story you don't forget easily. "

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About the Author
Author Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and the New York Times bestsellers The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina Etranger, and The Gravedigger’s Daughter. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978. In 2003 she received the Common Wealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature and the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement, and in 2006 she received the Chicago Tribune Lifetime Achievement Award.