Joyce Carol Oates adds to her extraordinary body of work with this stunning novel of violence and love. At the heart of the story are two people, Iris Courtney, who is white, and handsome Jinx Fairchild, the black basketball player who, in protecting Iris, kills a white man. Iris is the only witness to the crime. The two of them are growing up in the early 1950s in a New York industrial town where racial boundaries keep people apart-or bring them together in explosive scenes of fear or desire. The secret link between Iris and Jinx is not only their attraction to each other, but a murder ... and a bond of passion and guilt is formed between them. How this one irrevocable, tragic act shapes their lives and alters their destinies becomes Joyce Carol Oates' finest, emotion-packed novel-a work the critics are calling a masterpiece, the best work of America's best writer of contemporary realism.