Heft

( 66 )

Overview

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...

See more details below
Hardcover
$18.58
BN.com price
(Save 25%)$24.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (36) from $1.99   
  • New (9) from $7.80   
  • Used (27) from $1.99   
Heft

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price
(Save 31%)$15.95 List Price

Overview

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.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Moore (The Words of Every Song) taps the fascinating psyche of the morbidly obese in her second novel, a stout volume with a split narrative between corpulent recluse Arthur Opp and Kel Keller, an admired high school baseball player. Though slow to start, Moore succeeds in creating an insightful page-turner that seeks to demystify archetypal characters. Arthur is a reclusive, independently wealthy ex-professor who occupies the lower floors of his family home. A sporadic correspondence with former student Charlene sustains him for years until her surprise phone call pushes him to rejoin society. Charlene is the common link between Arthur and Kel, who narrates the book’s latter half and who, despite his apparent charmed existence, actually leads something of a double life caring for his alcoholic mother. As the story slowly unfolds, the importance of the connections between the three becomes increasingly evident. The writing is quirky, sometimes to a fault, yet original, but the diptych structure is less successful, as the respective first-person narrators are sometimes indistinct. Regardless, Moore’s second novel wears its few kinks well. Agent: Sterling Lord Literistic. (Jan.)
People Magazine
“Arthur Opp is heartbreaking. A 58-year old former professor of literature, he weighs 550 lbs., hasn’t left his Brooklyn apartment in years and is acutely attuned to both the painful and analgesic dimensions of his self-imposed solitude. Kel Keller, a handsome and popular high school athlete whose mother drinks too much to take care of him or even herself, faces his own wrenching struggles. The pair, apparently connected only by a slender thread, at first seem unlikely as co-narrators and protagonists of this novel, but they both become genuine heroes as their separate journeys through loneliness finally intersect. Though Moore’s narrative is often deeply sad, it is never maudlin. She writes with compassion and emotional insight but resists sentimentality , briskly moving her plot forward, building suspense and empathy. Most impressive is her ability to thoroughly inhabit the minds of Arthur and Kel; these are robust, complex characters to champion, not pity. The single word of the title is obviously a reference to Arthur’s morbid obesity, but it also alludes to the weight of true feelings and the courage needed to confront them. Heft leads to hope.”
NPR.org
[W]hen you've finished and returned Heft to the library or lent it to a friend or archived it on your e-reader, you'll find yourself missing having the characters around. You'll wonder, while you're waiting for the light to change or kneading bread dough, what happened next. ...Moore [has] created characters that I'll probably never forget.— Nancy Pearl
Colum McCann
“A suspenseful, restorative novel from one of our fine young voices.”
Russell Banks
“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.”
Mary Gordon
“Heft is a work that radiantly combines compassion and a clear eyed vision. This is a novel of rare originality and sophistication.”
Ann Hood
“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!”
Nancy Pearl - NPR.org
“[W]hen you've finished and returned Heft to the library or lent it to a friend or archived it on your e-reader, you'll find yourself missing having the characters around. You'll wonder, while you're waiting for the light to change or kneading bread dough, what happened next. ...Moore [has] created characters that I'll probably never forget.”
People Magazine
“Arthur Opp is heartbreaking. A 58-year old former professor of literature, he weighs 550 lbs., hasn’t left his Brooklyn apartment in years and is acutely attuned to both the painful and analgesic dimensions of his self-imposed solitude. Kel Keller, a handsome and popular high school athlete whose mother drinks too much to take care of him or even herself, faces his own wrenching struggles. The pair, apparently connected only by a slender thread, at first seem unlikely as co-narrators and protagonists of this novel, but they both become genuine heroes as their separate journeys through loneliness finally intersect. Though Moore’s narrative is often deeply sad, it is never maudlin. She writes with compassion and emotional insight but resists sentimentality , briskly moving her plot forward, building suspense and empathy. Most impressive is her ability to thoroughly inhabit the minds of Arthur and Kel; these are robust, complex characters to champion, not pity. The single word of the title is obviously a reference to Arthur’s morbid obesity, but it also alludes to the weight of true feelings and the courage needed to confront them. Heft leads to hope.”
Library Journal
Morbidly obese, 58-year-old shut-in Arthur Opp's only real contact with the outside world comes through his extended written correspondence with fellow misfit and former student Charlene Turner, 20 years his junior. When Arthur thinks Charlene might come back into his life, he finds the courage to let a cleaning service into his home and slowly befriends 19-year-old maid Yolanda. The novel alternates between the voices of Arthur and Charlene's 18-year-old son, Kel, though the two have never met and are unaware of each other. A popular and athletic teen on the surface, Kel is saddled with responsibility, and his tenuous self-sufficiency begins to crumble under the weight of his mother's descent into illness and alcoholism. At the beginning, all of the characters are alone and apart, burdened by secrets. But over the course of the novel they come to learn that we can build new families when our own don't suffice. VERDICT 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.—Lauren Gilbert, Sachem P.L., Holbrook, NY
Kirkus Reviews
In musician/novelist Moore's bifurcated second novel (The Words of Every Song, 2007), the two first-person narrations--from a housebound, grossly overweight former literature professor and a teenager in crisis over his future--never converge although they eventually intersect. Weighing in at over 500 pounds, Arthur Opp is approaching 60, alone and lonely in the Brooklyn house he hasn't left for years. Since his only friend has died, he avoids facing the world outside his front door; all his material needs are delivered. He spends his days eating. Then he receives a letter from a former student. When Charlene Turner took Arthur's class 20 years ago, she was intellectually out of her depth. Yet Arthur recognized a kindred spirit. After one semester she dropped out and he never saw her again; soon after, partly due to unfounded suspicions about their relationship, his own career disintegrated. Now Charlene makes a vague request that Arthur tutor her son. Anticipating her visit, Arthur hires a maid, Yolanda, a pregnant high-school dropout who brings unexpected life and energy into his home. But although the title refers to Arthur's quirky, larger-than-life charm, readers will find his story expendable compared to the struggles faced by single mom Charlene's son Kel. Kel's narrative, full of male adolescent swagger and uncertainty, is heart-wrenching. Charlene's desperate attempts to give him the chances she missed cause Kel to struggle with deeply divided loyalties as he commutes from his working-class Yonkers neighborhood to a prestigious Westchester high school where Charlene used to work as secretary. Handsome and athletic, Kel is beloved by his friends and teachers, who have bent rules to keep Kel enrolled ever since Charlene quit (or was fired) several years ago. Now a senior, Kel is tempted by a professional baseball scout, while Charlene drinks away her days to dull the pain of lupus and concocts her wild scheme, doing whatever it takes to get Kel to attend college. Only a hardhearted reader will remain immune to Kel's troubled charm.
Carole Burns
…engaging, quirky…Arthur's voice is engaging. His honesty is funny, even if the revelations of his haplessness are painful…Without archness or overly artistic sentences, Heft achieves real poignancy. [Moore]'s explanation of Arthur's psychology is perhaps too neat, but the warmth, the humanity and the hope in this novel make it compelling and pleasurable.
—The Washington Post
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393081503
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/23/2012
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 384,927
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Liz Moore is a writer and musician. Her debut novel, The Words of Every Song, was published in 2007, and she recently released her album Backyards. She is a professor at Holy Family University in Philadelphia, where she lives.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 66 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(31)

4 Star

(21)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 66 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 20, 2012

    Heartbreaking work of staggering genius

    Liz Moore pulls you in and never lets you go. I found myself so wrapped up in the characters of Arthur Opp and Kel Keller, two people whose lives orbit each other, that they are still with me today. This novel is enormously affecting, and it takes a big heart to tell a story with this much empathy and passion. I recommend with absolute vigor.

    15 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 25, 2012

    A Grand Slam of a Second Novel

    A genuine page-turner that unabashedly pulls at your heartstrings - an experience I find myself rarely succumbing to lately. It's got both the sweet and the bitter of a hard life lived everyday, and it's endearing, and it's sad. I could not put it down. HEFT is just plain lovely, and Liz Moore is an author to get excited about.

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    Could not put Heft down - had me from start to finish

    You will cringe, you will laugh, you will cry and you will be thinking about Heft long after you've read the final paragraph.

    A must read.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    stunning

    I just finished this book having read it over the past two days. I, too, want to know what what will come?
    How does Ms. Moore feel these things? I hope that she and her characters are safe.
    Extremely thoughtful, painfully real.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    Well done but...

    Needs one more chapter. I like at least a little resolution.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 1, 2012

    Sequel please!

    If you like your novels all tied up with a little bow on top, no loose ends, this may not be the novel for you. If, however, you love a story that leaves you with a few "Hmmmms" at the end and keeps you thinking about it for hours afterwards, this is your story. Heft is the perfect choice for a reading group discussion as it's characters are lovable, yet exasperating; the storyline easy to follow yet full of questions. I'm hoping there's a sequel. Highly recommend!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2012

    Thought provoking...

    This book is very well written and leaves one thinking about it long after finishing. The loneliness of the characters that are all connected is heart wrenching and the choices they made are very painful to read. Arthur talks about the oversoul and the lonely people.... and he feels comfortable because that is the only world that accepted him. I cried when I read this because there is an entire world of invisible and unbeautiful people that we don't see even when they live right next door....because we choose to not see. Easy to read and gives a lot to think about.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 1, 2012

    Loved this book

    this book has absolutely wonderful characters--the best book I have read this year. (and I've read a lot)--you won't be sorry.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    Wonderful!!!!!

    I couln't put it down. Would be a great discussion for Book Clubs. Everyone could write the Epilogue

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 6, 2012

    A Fantastic Read

    Very well written. Inspiring and utterly heart-breaking, I highly recommend.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2012

    Excellent

    I never write reviews for books but had to for this one. The characters are so well developed and Ms. Moore's compassionate writing makes you really drawn into their lives, not to mention tearful at times. Highly recommend!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 9, 2012

    WHERE IS THE ENDING??? I thought this book had a good story and

    WHERE IS THE ENDING??? I thought this book had a good story and well-drawn characters, but I hated the complete lack of an ending!! The author didn't have to tell us everything about the rest of the characters' lives, but I would have liked to have had a little more "tieing up" of their stories. It seemed that the author wanted us to take the progress the characters were making in their lives and imagine the rest of the story ourselves, but I prefer more conclusion.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    I loved this book....Until it ended abruptly. I was very disapo

    I loved this book....Until it ended abruptly. I was very disapointed in
    the ending. I feel the author could have tied up ALL the loose ends.
    So if you like a book that doesn't have and ending, this is the book for
    you! On a positive note. I loved the characters and the whole story
    line.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    If you are looking for a book that is wonderful, heartbreaking,

    If you are looking for a book that is wonderful, heartbreaking, touching and incredibly meaningful… then you’ve found it.

    At age 60 and over 500 pounds, Arthur Opp finds himself in a strange predicament. For twenty years, he’s remained in his house, refusing to go outside. What he needs, he has delivered to the house. Food, supplies, you name it. He’s a thoughtful man, and very lonely yet he’s been removed from society for so long, that he fears he may never leave the house again.

    Charlene, was a student of Arthur’s in college. While taking his class, she and Arthur had a connection that neither of them could explain. Charlene, plain and socially awkward, found a friend in Arthur that she’s not had since. Not even after 20 years. Although their physical friendship ceased after she left college, she continued to write letters to Arthur for a few years and those letters meant more to him than she could ever possibly know.

    Now, twenty years later, Charlene writes to Arthur once again to tell him of her son, Kel. She asks Arthur if he can help Kel by providing the guidance that he so desperately needs. Arthur’s excitement over her letter, sets a series of events into motion. For one, the hiring of maid. An act that causes great stress for Arthur, after all…no one has been in his house for years, yet with this stress, comes friendship (of all things) and his friendship with Yolanda, the maid, brought many smiles to my face.

    This was a fabulous read. Absolutely fabulous and it brought me to tears numerous times. These characters are wonderfully flawed and honest and vulnerable and well…real. It’s the type of book that has you cheering for EVERYONE and that is such a rare thing, to be able to cheer for everyone. The story is told by Arthur and Kel in alternating chapters and let me tell you, the structure worked for me. The beginning was a tad slow, just a tad but once you get going, you won’t be able to put it down.

    Plus, this is the first book I’ve read that had a character with Lupus. As a person who tests positive for Lupus every now and then, I am happy to see Lupus getting some attention. It’s a disease that affects many, yet many haven’t a clue what it is. Although it wasn’t the focus of the story, the effect that is has on one of the main characters is touching and heartbreaking and devastating in the way only a serious illness can be.

    As I was reading this book, I felt that it could easily cross into Young Adult although it’s not classified as such. It’s an easy read, yet deals with some really heavy themes, all of which held my attention and made me love this book even more.

    Heft will definitely be one of my faves for 2012. I want everyone to read it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012

    Great Read!

    Beautifully written and thought-provoking. I am inspired to spend as much time with my sons as possible.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 9, 2014

    Disjointed storyline and stereotypical characters behaving as ex

    Disjointed storyline and stereotypical characters behaving as expected.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2014

    Nice story

    A unique, interesting story that keeps you interested from start to finish. Not one of my favorite books, but worth the read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 30, 2013

    A good read!

    This was a really unusual, but touching and enlightening story.

    Heft is the story of two men, a 58 year old morbidly obese recluse, and a 18 year old high school senior athlete. They are linked together by one woman and a mutual sense of loneliness even though they do not know each other. Their story is told in two separate points of view, both allowing the reader an insight into their lonely and difficult worlds.

    Moore does an excellent job of creating believable characters whom you come to care for. She spells out the differing worlds of these to men in a careful and believable manner, offering a sympathetic view into behavior. As I read about Arthur Opp, the recluse, I could understand how he came to be a 500-600 pound man who is afraid to leave his home. Likewise, learning Kel Keller's story, I hurt for the boy, for the things he longed for that eluded him in his short life.

    The story moves at a good pace. The writing is accomplished, although there were some gimmicky touches that I found distracting at first. As the story progresses, the gimmicks became less of an annoyance, and I wondered if Moore wasn't using the gimmicks to tell us something about the characters. If that was her intent, I missed it.

    The ending is hopeful without being saccharine, but also a touch unsatisfying. There is a lot left hanging, but with her technique you intuit that the end is happy.

    A good read. There is some harsh language, but it is not gratuitous - it really is part of the character development. If the language is not an issue for you, I highly recommend this one!(less)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2013

    A Pleasant Surprise

    This book was a pleasant surprise, not at all what I expected. I thoroughly enjoyed it and wanted to know what happened after the ending.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    loved the characters in this book

    A friend recommended this book to me and now I am doing the same.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 66 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)