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 bought this audio book on the recommendations of the commenters. Thank you commenters! I just loved this story and the narrators, I felt like I knew them. Its a sad story in so many different ways, but it shows there is always hope and change possible.
I hated for it to end, I wanted to just keep hearing about what happened to the people after the end of the book.
Heft is everything I want in an audiobook. I care deeply about the characters, it's well written and the performances are spot on.
I've always loved books. Even before I could read I've loved them. Fact or Fiction, I love books. I'd sooner read a book than see a movie.
This book is for those of us who's life hasn't turned out the way we wished it. Liz Moore digs deep into her character's lives and fatalities. Her characters are truly human.
I wouldn't say this book increased my interest in the subject matter, but I will read another book written by Liz Moore.
I can relate to the lead character Opp. Being ashamed about his appearance and not wanting to face the outside world. His character is very passive and gentle. All of his qualities of his character, both good and bad, are realistic. I believe most people will find him to be sweet and miss understood.
Both narrators have a wonderful performance, and they bring each character alive.
Serious about gadgets
Years ago everyone was raving about a movie called "Leaving Las Vegas," a tale of two alcoholics spiraling down. I wasted two hours of my life watching this movie thinking, "Yes, the acting is good and the writing is good, but why do I want to watch a movie where NOTHING happens." I feel very much the same way about this book. It was slow to develop, so slow, in fact that I slogged right to the bitter end, thinking that with all those rave reviews, maybe SOMETHING would happen, even in the last five minutes. It doesn't. NOTHING. HAPPENS. Thank God for Five-Hour-Energy drinks or this book would have had me asleep at the wheel. Somewhere out there is a cult promoting this book. There's no other explanation for all the rave reviews.
No I would not--the ending was not satisfactory to me unless there is a sequel in the works
When one of the characters die
I thought they were awesome!!!
Heft was right on
Very enjoyable story, and narration. I usually read thrillers and mysteries, but for some reason the description/summary of this story was intriguing. there were a few unexpected twists in the story, which I found very interesting, but I loved the way the story of the two main characters still grabbed my attention, and found it very hard to stop listening to the story.I was just a bit disappointed in the ending, because I like clear cut endings, but I can always imagine the way their lives will go on, but that was probably the writers intent.
Long term book junkie only recently addicted to audio books. Now my iPod and I are inseparable.
I wouldn't normally have chosen to read a novel about a morbidly obese middle-aged shut-in ex-academic and a High School student and wannabe baseball star with anger management issues but I'd heard that Liz Moore had a strong, distinctive, voice, so I tried the audiobook.
It was an excellent decision, not just because Liz Moore writes beautifully but because "Heft" works well as an audiobook. The contrasting voices of Kirby Heyborne and Keith Szarabajka draw an even stronger distinction between the world as seen by the monstrously fat Arthur Opp and the athletic, on-the-brink-of-manhood Kel Keller.
In "Heft", Liz Moore takes up the challenge of writing a character-driven novel that features two unsympathetic characters who are leading ordinary lives that verge on the dull. Her achievement is that, by the end of the book she had managed to tangle them in my imagination enough to make me hope on their behalf.
The novel is structured a two parallel stories of frailty, failure and loss that are up-lifted by the accuracy of their observation and the suppression of the authorial voice which forces the reader to make their own judgements on the actions and motives of Opp and Keller.
Some of those actions are hard to watch and don't paint Keller or Opp in a positive light.
Keller's guilty anger at having to care for his sick and apparently drunk, mother and his encounter, in room strewn with beer cans and smelling of neglect, with the man he believes may be his father, create a bleak picture. One of the most powerful moments, for me, was Keller having sex with a girl from his old neighbourhood just because she's there and then remaining cruelly passive when he knows the hurt he has caused her. This is the kind adolescent many of us can remember being but would be ashamed to admit to. It speaks to the honesty that holds this book together.
Arthur Opp is shown a s man unable to connect to connect to the people around him and who has been corrupted by a morbid desire for food, that ultimately becomes his only source of pleasure. That Opp's life has shrunk as his body has expanded symbolised by his inability to climb the stairs to reach the upper floor of his home.
"Heft" handles big themes: how weakness and shame corrode; how parents can damage their children; how fantasy becomes a substitute for action,; how small practical acts of kindness can kindle hope and the possibilities that open up when we set out to build "families" composed of people we care about.
Liz Moore knows how to describe the small victories and moments of kindness that make life worth living. Opp's first walk outside of his house in many years, convey a real sense of risk and triumph. The quiet hospitality Keller is offered by his almost-girlfriend and her family shows the impact of kindness. Both men are motivated to try to be more, to be better, by woman in their lives who can see beyond the failings and fear and the self-hatred to the men they could become with courage and love and time.
"Heft" is not a didactic book. It is not selling self-help solutions and does not offer tidy endings. If it has a message, it is: "Life is a mess. Deal with it. But deal with it with as much kindness and empathy as you can manage."
I enjoyed it, but it took most of the book to get to what I thought would be the main story and left me hanging.
Once is enough because you won't forget it.
Don't come in. Just call the police.
Bell to bell in one day
I love action, sci-fi, thrillers etc. - so this book was not one I thought I would enjoy. Boy was I wrong. This is a beautiful story, it's touching and leaves you feeling sentimental – all the things I don't want in a book – but somehow this one worked all the way. Read it.
I liked the development of the main character - Arthur. He was believable, thoughtful and interesting.
The story flowed well, and the parallel development between the two characters was interesting. This is a very well written book, however, the ending dissappointed me. After such great development of each character I felt that the ending was flat.
It was compelling to listen to primarily because the narrator is exceptional - among the best I've heard given his range and choice of voice for the characters. In fact, both narrators and the audible production was very well done. However, as the saying goes, there was no "there" "there." I listened in anticipation for hours, but was felt somewhat cheated at the ending.
The story creates great anticipation regarding the unfolding of the plot, but leaves the reader with a sad sense of unfinished potential at the end of the story. I felt like I invested so much in learning about these characters in detail, waiting to see how the story would unfold, but was left with the same storyline questions at the end.
No. I wouldn't listen to a follow up because I wouldn't trust the author to come to a point.
"A book with weight"
The narrator of Arthur Opp is especially excellent.
When Arthur goes for a walk for the first time. Never has a journey to the park being such an adventure.
Many.... This is a sentimental journey.
I have 99 audiobooks in my library. This is one of the best.
"An unexpected joy to read"
I found the narration perfect for the subject matter, and loved both characters. The slow, contemplative style was relaxing and easy to lose oneself in.I was left feeling emotionally drained when I'd finished it, and not ready to jump into my next book. It's a story that gives one a lot to think about, both whilst reading and long afterwards.
This isn't a novel filled with moments of great action, adventure or suspense. It's a story of inner thoughts and regrets, but it's also certainly not without hope and optimism. The most memorable parts of the novel for me are the most emotional, and there are plenty of those. Both Arthur and Kel meeting their fathers. Yolanda's life mirroring that of Charlene, the pregnant, college dropout. Kel's placing of the obituary which Arthur will most assuredly read. This scene wasn't overly long or descriptive, but still leaves a sense of loss and sadness, that lingers.
All characters were very well voiced but I prefered Arthur Opp/Yolanda, not because the narration was any better, but as I felt a greater compassion and connection to them.
I was sorry when the book finished, as the end of the novel was just the beginning of the story, I could have spent many more hours enjoying the company of Arthur, Yolanda and Kel. I will definitely listen to this again in the near future.
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