Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart

Joyce Carol Oates, Author Plume Books $16 (416p) ISBN 978-0-452-26581-3

Racial disharmony from the mid-'50s to mid-'60s propels this tale of the love that binds pk a black man and a white woman in an upstate New York industrial town wracked by violence and murder. Protagonists Jinx and Iris are ``brilliantly portrayed,'' said PW. ``Oates is a master at realizing the social forces that twist the fates of her characters.'' 50,000 first printing. (Mar.)