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)
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
I'm a little late to the party, reading this three years after original publication. It is one of those rare sale purchases where I feel like offering to pay full price. Arthur is morbidly obese and reclusive. Given the title, I assume this will be an in-depth character study into his psyche, but it gets even better when we're introduced to another narrator complete with interesting backstory and of course the two cross paths. I don't want to give away anything. It's a well thought out book with intense character development and attention to detail. As with all good titles, "Heft" has myriad meanings to be taken from the themes and characters. Fantastic.
I loved the honesty and lack of pretense. The characters were alive, their problems real. Very well done.
The only other book I could think to compare Heft to is Wuthering Heights... Disfunctional characters trying to survive.
The narrators did an excellent job. They were very good with the New York accents of Charlene and the Spanish-New York of Yolanda. They sounded like gum snapping, diner waitresses and I was fascinated that Arthur gave them the time of day. The contrast between them seemed too wide a gap to bridge.
I loved the book and was deeply engrossed in the drama. The ending was a bit confounding, but the story never let's you go. It haunts your thoughts even after you put it down.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (fiction) - Heft is set in present day New York. It is full of memorable characters -- a pregnant teenager, an alcoholic, an orphan and a morbidly obese recluse. They are all flawed and lonely, and they are all trying to deal with their problems the best way they know how. This is a story about falling down and trying to get back up, and about moving out of your comfort zone and reaching out to others. The story is sad but also heartwarming and happy at the same time. The ending is realistic and wonderful.
PERFORMANCE - This book is read by two awesome male readers. Arthur (the obese recluse) sounds mature and well-educated, with a slight British accent. Kel (the orphan) sounds like the young high school athlete that he is. The story is told alternatively between their respective viewpoints, and the performances are great.
OVERALL - There is a sprinkling of cuss words in this book, and there is only one extremely vague sexual situation. There is no violence. I would recommend this book for mature listeners who enjoy growing with richly painted characters bit by delicious bit.
Yes because you find yourself doing a "what if" senario in your head.
Five People You Meet In Heaven since it to demonstrates how the simplest things you do can profoundly influence others.
They were believeable and draw the reader into the story.
Often made me sad that otherwise productive, colorful characters can go so far astray.
I have enjoyed my Audible membership tremendously.
Thorny issues faced in daily life by characters not often given a voice. Sadness and loneliness, love and family all play roles. A book that will definitely get a second listen. Narrators are superb.
Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
Why should you listen to a book about an agoraphobic, morbidly obese former professor, his former student, and her son? Because Liz Moore excels at storytelling in Heft and she can make you care about all of these characters in a way that doesn't often happen in fiction, especially when the characters have all made some questionable choices. In Heft, Liz Moore writes of several lonely, misfit characters in an extraordinary way. She is able to tell the stories of Arthur Opp, a morbidly obese, agoraphobic, former professor, his former student Charlene Turner, and her son Kel Keller in simple, straightforward, yet beautiful writing.
Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds, sits on his couch and watches his home fill up with the detritus of his life. After September 11, he realized that he had no one to care about (or to care about him), so he isolates himself in his house and with his weight. He never leaves his house, orders everything he needs, but is clearly cognizant of his situation. His only contact has been letters from a former student, Charlene Turner. He hasn't seen her in twenty years, but one day receives a letter asking Arthur to provide some much-needed guidance to her son, Kel Keller. This letter provides the impetus for Arthur to hire a cleaning lady, Yolanda, who is a very interesting character in her own right. Keith Szarabajka does an amazing narration for Arthur. This is definitely a case where the audio makes the book an even better reading experience than print.
Every one of these characters is lonely in their own way, and their interactions and intersections may (or may not) change that, but Moore doesn't write their stories in predictable ways. She reveals the truth behind the facades that Arthur and Kel have chosen; it would be so easy to write all of these characters as caricatures, but Moore never does that.
"I considered the fact that men who come to excavate my house upon receiving complaints from the neighbors will find a fat old corpse who has no relations and nothing but a pile of papers to tell them this was a human being and this was a man with a story to tell."
Heft is a masterfully told story.
I am an addicted audio book listener but couldn't get through this one. The book is written and narrated well but listening made me feel a huge weight on my shoulders. I was so committed to the main character and felt such sympathy that I didn't want to continue to hear his emotional pain. Struck an odd nerve with me.
Rank it solidly in good novels
The professor who is a recluse and morbidly obese and his latina housekeeper
really liked the relationship between Arthur and Yolanda
This book was so much better than I expected. The narrator was perfect. He made the characters come to life for me & made me care what happened to each one.
The characters were really fleshed out and real, but so melancholy. So many missed opportunities for each of them. They could have changed each other's lives but didn't have the courage.
I was interested enough in what was going to happen next that I was drawn back to listen when I had other things to do. But I wished someone got their happiness in the end.
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