A novel of passion and obsession, Heart of the Order is the story of Danny ("Kiss of the Wolf") Bacigalupo, a baseball player from the alleys of Chicago's North Side, whose life and career are shaped by a tragic childhood accident. Danny knows about guilt from the stern Irish women in black hoods and floor-length robes, but their words don't move him -- not until the death of Mickey Meenan. It was an accident: A line drive off Danny's bat collided with young Mickey's Adam's apple. Danny manages to shake the accident, but he can't shake the presence of Mickey. Even after fourteen years of pro ball he doesn't know whether he's Mickey or Danny, a swinger for the fences or a player who hits safely. A magic realism informs the novel and takes the form of a monologue from a father to his son. The book's first half focuses on the love between Danny and another memorable outsider, Grace Jankowski -- the fat girl with the beautiful eyes. The second half reveals the tough world of minor-league baseball and Danny's friendship with a black shortstop named Book Johnson. Throughout both sections of the novel, baseball becomes a personal crucible as Danny struggles to find himself and a single identity. Novelist David Bradley, winner of 1982's PEN/Faulkner Award, praised "the wisdom and humor of the novel's narrative voice and the stylistic risks that have transformed this straightforward story into art." A section of the novel appeared in TriQuarterly magazine; it has also been awarded the 1985 Virginia Prize for Fiction, and has won for the author a major fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.