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Broke Heart Blues


The much-anticipated reissue of a novel that is one of Joyce Carol Oates’s personal favorites among her oeuvre; featuring a new afterword by Oates.

Now available for preorder. All preorders will ship on or before October 1, 2024.

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Forthcoming: 10/1/24

$18.95 $14.21

What people are saying…

“Densely layered, meticulously imagined . . . [a] shared coming-of-age tale fraught with the absurd comedy and uproarious sadness of adolescent obsession . . . among the most entertaining of Oates’s novels.”
Miami Herald

“With Broke Heart Blues, Oates does for high school reunions what Huckleberry Finn did for the Mississippi . . . Great authors have a way of rendering common things extraordinary . . . This dry satire of America’s thirst for scandal is perfectly calibrated.”
Christian Science Monitor

“Oates uses her astonishingly plentiful imagination to paint the portrait of . . . virtually an entire generation of a town . . . Rife with life.”
Washington Post Book World


Now available for preorder. All preorders will ship on or before October 1, 2024.

IN THE HEART OF A LANGUID JULY, ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD JOHN REDDY HEART drives a traffic-stopping, salmon-colored Cadillac into the quiet upstate town of Willowsville, New York. His mother, Dahlia Heart, a blackjack dealer, has brought her family east from Las Vegas to claim the rambling mansion left to her by a wealthy suitor.

But it is John Reddy—already growing into a heartbreaking hybrid of James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Elvis Presley—who will claim the town itself. It is John Reddy who will arouse the desire of Willowsville’s teenage girls and the worship of its boys, the fear and envy of its men, and the yearning of its women. And it is John Reddy who will capture the town’s soul forever on the night a prominent citizen is shot dead in Dahlia Heart’s bedroom—and a statewide manhunt sweeps Willowsville’s rebel outlaw into the realm of living myth.

Over the course of thirty years, Broke Heart Blues charts the rise and fall—and the ultimate call to reckoning—of John Reddy Heart, through the myriad voices of those who find him their whipping boy, savior, dream lover, and confessor. At once a scathing indictment of the cultlike nature of fame and celebrity in America and a deeply moving mediation on human need and longing, the novel explores loneliness, and the profound price we pay for our desires and dreams.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Published: 10/1/24
  • IBSN: 9781636141145
  • e-IBSN: 9781636141947


JOYCE CAROL OATES is the author of many works of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. She is the editor of New Jersey Noir, Prison Noir, A Darker Shade of Noir: New Stories of Body Horror by Women Writers, and Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers. Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award, PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Humanities Medal, and a World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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