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Heft: A Novel by Liz Moore
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Heft: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Liz Moore

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335None33,281 (4.08)10
Member:rachrun24
Title:Heft: A Novel
Authors:Liz Moore
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2012), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Heft by Liz Moore (2012)

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» See also 10 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
What a lovely book, beautifully read by by two narrators, Kirby Heyborne and Keith Szarabajka. I was immediately drawn into the story about Arthur, a former professor so obese that he is a prisoner in his own home, and Charlene, a starry-eyed student whose life does not go as expected, and the people whose lives these two touch.

I wanted to reach out and hug these characters, these broken people who have lost hope and the ones who keep hope when success seems unreachable. The invisible people. I want to tell them that everything will be okay even when I fear for them that it will not.

Not all is tied up in a neat bundle in the end, but the ending was wonderful. This book is not an especially well-known or popular one, and I believe deserves more recognition. The Audible version is terrific. When the last sentence was read, I had that warm, grateful feeling that good books give me, and I will not soon forget the story. ( )
  TooBusyReading | Dec 29, 2013 |
Heft is adult fiction (drug, sex, alcohol abuse) told from two first-person perspectives: a former literature professor, so morbidly obese he's housebound in his family's Brooklyn home, Heft's pace is torturously and deliciously slow in food ritual descriptions (i.e. can't turn your head from a car accident way), but builds momentum when a former student/love interest's letter and a pregnant teen house cleaner encourages him to engage with life again. When the narrative switches to a fatherless teen boy whose life spirals out of control dealing with an alcoholic and sick mother, their engrossing stories slowly reveal a connection which makes you unable to flip the pages fast enough to find a hopefully happier existence/resolution for all the flawed characters involved. ( )
  Micalhut | Aug 20, 2013 |
58-year-old Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and lives in lonely, self-imposed exile. A blossoming friendship with his 19-year-old cleaning maid, Yolanda, and the rekindling of a decades old obsession with a former student, gradually draw Arthur back into the land of the living. The story is terrifically engaging and unlike the typical novel of social outcasts discovering their inner resources, the book isn’t really about happy endings – it’s a case where the acceptance of compromise changes everyone’s life for the better. If you enjoy Lori Lansens’ The Wife’s Tale or Matthew Quick’s Silver Linings Playbook, you will enjoy this book.
  vplprl | Aug 1, 2013 |
I really enjoyed "Heft" and found it well-written. The reason it gets only 3 stars is the poor ending. The story just peters out and quits. There should have been much more to the conclusion. I don't mind a somewhat ambiguous ending, but this was ridiculously abrupt. ( )
1 vote brendajanefrank | Jul 7, 2013 |
Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn't left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career-if he can untangle himself from his family drama. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel's mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur's. After nearly two decades of silence, it is Charlene's unexpected phone call to Arthur-a plea for help-that jostles them into action. Summary BPL

Among the various book covers, the above gives away the least about a strained triangular relationship among three burdened people but I found it off-putting to the point that I almost didn't read the book! The stack of heavy, white mixed fonts, as I understand it, indicates that the "heft" in these characters' lives--the weight, influence--is absence. A life-burdening absence that is invisible to others except in the shaming behaviors it engenders.

Arthur Opp's obesity and resulting agoraphobia are logically explained from his point of view; the reader is drawn to understand, not judge. Ms Moore handles Charlene's devastating alcoholism through the eyes of her son, Kel, leaving wiggle room for the reader's disapproval. I think Charlene deserves her own book--she is, after all, the restorer of presence to these men. Kel's coming of age--finishing high school and trying out for a college sports scholarship--is only part of his story. He has been acting on his mother's behalf for years now, almost as a father to her; Kel has all the responsibilities of an adult with none of its positive experiences.

Heft is so well written you just absorb the story, unconscious of any literary factors. Anyone who has ever experienced, however briefly, loneliness or disappointment or self-soothed with food or shopped online because it was easier than facing people, will recognize Arthur Opp.

9 out of 10 For fans of beautiful books. ( )
  julie10reads | May 19, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
The writing is quirky, sometimes to a fault, yet original . . . Moore’s second novel wears its few kinks well
added by nsblumenfeld | editPublishers Weekly (Nov 14, 2011)
 
Only a hardhearted reader will remain immune to Kel’s troubled charm.
added by nsblumenfeld | editKirkus Reviews (Nov 3, 2011)
 
Moore's lovely novel (after The Words of Every Song) is about overcoming shame and loneliness and learning to connect. It is life-affirming but never sappy.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Lauren Gilbert (Oct 15, 2011)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Liz Mooreprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heyborne, KirbyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Szarabajka, KeithNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my mother, Christine
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The first thing you must know about me is that I am colossally fat.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393081508, Hardcover)

A heartwarming novel about larger-than-life characters and second chances.

Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn't left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career—if he can untangle himself from his family drama. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel’s mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur’s. After nearly two decades of silence, it is Charlene’s unexpected phone call to Arthur—a plea for help—that jostles them into action. Through Arthur and Kel’s own quirky and lovable voices, Heft tells the winning story of two improbable heroes whose sudden connection transforms both their lives. Like Elizabeth McCracken’s The Giant’s House, Heft is a novel about love and family found in the most unexpected places.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:55:31 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Arthur weighs 550 pounds and hasn't left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Kel navigates life as a poor kid in a rich school, and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career. An unexpected connection transforms both their lives as they find sustenance and friendship in the most surprising places.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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