Audie Award Nominee, Literary Fiction, 2013
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.
©2012 Liz Moore (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“A suspenseful, restorative novel from one of our fine young voices.” (Colum McCann, National Book Award–winning author)
“In Heft, Liz Moore creates a cast of vulnerable, lonely misfits that will break your heart and then make it soar. What a terrific novel!” (Ann Hood, best-selling author of The Red Thread)
“This is the real deal, Liz Moore is the real deal - she’s written a novel that will stick with you long after you’ve finished it.” (Russell Banks, Pulitzer Prize finalist)
I got this book based on your reviews and I wasn't disappointed- really enjoyed this story and the characters...I wish there had been more, but I understand why it ended like it did...
This book was completely different than I expected it to be. It was the high praise and the fine reviews that kept haunting me to purchase this book and I am so glad I did. From the name and scanning reviews, one thinks it has to do with weight in a physical sense when the weigh in the title has more to do with the emotional weigh we carry.
Heft is a fine example of a heavy book dealing with a lot of sad issues that, rather than being a depressing story, it’s compelling and hopeful tale that keeps you hooked from beginning to end. Yes, there could have been more resolution – but, there is always hope for a sequel.
Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
The first really, really fat fictional character I met was John Kennedy Toole's (1937 - 1969) Ignatius P. Reilly, the hero of "A Confederacy of Dunces" (1980). No, the dates aren't typos - and neither is 1981, the year Toole's book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Toole's Reilly is New Orleans personified, in all of its excess, insular and corpulent glory.
Liz Moore's 550 pound Arthur Opp of "Heft" (2012) is no Ignatius P. Reilly, but Opp, the reclusive, disgraced night school college professor bears an uncanny literary resemblance to the actual writer Toole. Moore has an MFA from Hunter College, where Toole was an instructor long before Moore was born. I've never taken a writing class, but in my imagination, college professors of both sexes wear tweed blazers with leather elbow patches, a la Reilly; scuffed brown loafers with tassels; and stride confidently in front of a full classroom making Important Observations about Prize Winning Literature that will Inspire eager new college students.
Opp the literary character never inspired anyone except Yonkers-born and raised Charlene Turner. Charlene went to one semester of night school, dropped out, married, and had a son, Arthur "Kel" Keller. After her divorce, Charlene got a job at Westchester Prep School, where students dress carefully in The Right Clothes and a Mercedes for their 16th birthday is a modest gift. Kel is allowed to attend, and fits in surprisingly well. Kel may be from the wrong zip code, but an ace three sport athlete is welcome just about anywhere.
Both Opp's and Kel's lives are fragile constructs, and as William Butler Yeats famously said, "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold" ("The Second Coming," 1919). If Charlene Turner was the centre, "Heft" is the story of the fall and eventual rise of both men.
"Heft" uses two narrators. The Opp narrator, Keith Szarabajka, sounds quite large and almost out of breath. The performance reminded me a bit of Adam Arkin's performance as Dale Biederbeck in the television show "Mr. Monk Meets Dale the Whale" (2002). Kirby Heyborne was convincing as a teenager.
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I was captivated by this book. The narrators, especially Arthur Ops narrator, was so good I wanted to listen to his story over and over. The storyline is unique and wonderful. I found the ending a disappointment however.
I loveed this book! The characters were very interesting and the story compelling. The relationship between the characters is compelling. I loved the changes wrought by the changing circumstances faced by one very laege man and those around him.
My reviews are my personal feelings-just the need to rant or ooze after listening & to remind me what I felt if I want to listen again.
Narration: Kick Ass!!
In the beginning, I kind of questioned the narration of Keith Szarabajka, but as I got to know the character he was portraying, he was perfect. And loved his Yolanda!
I love everything Kirby Heyborne does as a narrator and he was perfect for Kel.
I thought it was a great story. Love, love, loved the characters and was so excited for how this was going to conclude and what impact the two main characters were going to have on each other. I've interupted my hubby on four different occasions to tell him what was going on and then...
Did I miss something? Please someone else who's read this, help me out! What am I missing?
It doesn't appear to be a series, and I feel like there is so much more that I want to know about their futures. I was listening along happily and then BAM that's it. It was over... sigh
That's the only reason it's not 5 stars across the board.
GIVE ME A SEQUEL!!!!
The two main characters narrate their own stories, often in present tense and with heart-breaking beautiful simplicity and humility. The author makes it impossible not to love and root for these characters in every way.
Arthur Opp was my favorite character. Through simple and elegant descriptions of his thoughts and actions as he moves through his daily life, I was left feeling that I knew and loved this very, very large man. I cried when the book ended, both in joy for the hopefulness, and in sadness for having to lose my connection to Arthur.
If these readers were acting in a movie, they would have stolen the show and won academy awards for best actor and best supporting actor. The love and compassion and tenderness they bring to the characters is so touching that it changed the way I saw people.
What a poignant tale of loneliness "Heft" is. Riveted, once I started this story I finagled my life so that I could listen at every opportunity until I finished it.
The two main characters, as opposite and yet similar as can be, are expertly read/acted.
Told with honest, raw emotion, their stories will touch you and draw you in, and you will feel like you know them.
I loved this story, more than any other audio book I've "read" so far.
If stories about ordinary and invisible people appeal to you, then you can't miss with this one.
the "whining" was annoying at times, story was a bit predictable
characters were well developed and good insights into the inner worlds of the characters
clear, listenable, expressive
yes, all in all, though the story certainly could have been reduced a bit
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