Dust jacket notes: "Some novels create a world as enclosed as a terrarium. A Piece of My Heart ranges wide in its landscapes, human and geographic, yet the heart is broken into pieces by repeated and obsessive sequences - by violence, by cruelty, by sexual love coupling with hatred, and by purposeless random accident. Richard Ford tells the violent, comic, and deeply moving story of two men, one pursuing a woman, the other pursuing himself. Robard and Sam meet in a bizarre household on an island hideaway in the Mississippi. Their original intentions in going to the island are quickly obscured by the world of purposelessness they have entered, and are ultimately sacrificed in the explosive finale. This Southern landscape flowers with victims, like the deer swimming to shore suddenly sucked under and drowned by an enormous fish. The novel opens with a mysterious murder; who has been shot is not known. In this drama the victims are predators, the predators victims. The finest of the many fascinating characters in the book, a man of fierceness, of ancient purpose, a survivor and predator - becomes his own last victim. A Piece of My Heart is grim, phobic, nightmarish, and almost intolerable; it is redeemed by its own extremity. The pieces of these hearts share a vitality and an intensity greater than any new author has brought to fiction for decades. Character after character is particular, special, different, located, and exact. Place and scene, action and image and smell, dialogue above all - in this novel the texture of the lived life is urgent, breathes through each word, reproduces itself like a permanent after-image on the reader's imagination. And last - therefore maybe first - through all its blackness, this hazardous, doomed vision is profoundly comic. Richard Ford is the darkest, the funniest, and the best new American novelist."