A collection of short stories by Joseph Bathanti.
"The High Heart is a gripping, soulful collection of linked stories, perfectly pitched in its depiction of a small family deeply rooted in working-class Pittsburgh of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The main characters are indelible—the young protagonist, Fritz, his passive-but-sweet father, Travis, and his explosive mother, Rita, whose dark sexuality and dissatisfaction loom like storm clouds over these stories. . . . Vivid and engaging, The High Heart satisfies that mysterious quality of great fiction by managing to be both truthful and artful at the same time."—Jess Walter, author of The Zero
"In this beautifully written and deeply moving collection, Joseph Bathanti gives us all the sad trappings of working-class life—the Rolling Rock beer, the Pall Mall cigarettes, the plastic lawn chairs, the beat-up Bonnevilles and Impalas. Yet the world of The High Heart never feels depressing. It's impossible not to cheer on young Fritzy as he struggles to make sense of his eccentric parents, the ever-bickering, memorable couple known as Travis-and-Rita."—Rita Ciresi, author of Pink Slip and Sometimes I Dream in Italian
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, JOSEPH BATHANTI came to North Carolina in 1976 as a VISTA volunteer to work in the state's prison system and later earned an MFA in creative writing from Warren Wilson College, in Swannanoa. He is the author, most recently, of two novels—Coventry, for which he received the 2006 Novello Literary Award, and East Liberty, which won the 2001 Carolina Novel Award—and a work of nonfiction, They Changed the State: The Legacy of North Carolina's Visiting Artists, 1971-1995, published in 2007 by the North Carolina Arts Council. He has also written four volumes of poetry, among them This Metal, which was nominated for a National Book Award, as well as the one-act play Afomo, which won the Wachovia Playwrights Pride and was produced by the Lab Theatre of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The recipient of numerous other honors, among them the Samuel Talmadge Ragan Award, presented annually for outstanding sustained contributions to the fine arts of North Carolina, the Linda Flowers Prize, the Sara Henderson Hay Prize, and the Sherwood Anderson Award, he teaches creative writing at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.