Heft: A Novel

Heft: A Novel

by Liz Moore


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"A stunningly sad and heroically hopeful tale…This is a beautiful novel about relationships of the most makeshift kind." —O, The Oprah Magazine

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. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel’s mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur’s. Told with warmth and intelligence through Arthur and Kel’s own quirky and lovable voices, Heft is the story of two improbable heroes whose connection transforms both their lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393343885
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 09/04/2012
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 231,265
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 5.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Liz Moore is the author of the acclaimed novel Heft. A winner of the 2014 Rome Prize in Literature, she lives in Philadelphia.

What People are Saying About This

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.

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!

Mary Gordon

Heft is a work that radiantly combines compassion and a clear eyed vision. This is a novel of rare originality and sophistication.

Colum McCann

A suspenseful, restorative novel from one of our fine young voices.

Customer Reviews

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Heft 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
Alex_Gilvarry More than 1 year ago
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.
Bookie-Wookie More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Boncar More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Needs one more chapter. I like at least a little resolution.
Goodreadercarol More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!!
readtheroad More than 1 year ago
Very well written. Inspiring and utterly heart-breaking, I highly recommend.
hollylewis More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written and thought-provoking. I am inspired to spend as much time with my sons as possible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couln't put it down. Would be a great discussion for Book Clubs. Everyone could write the Epilogue
4daisies on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Liz Moore has written a book so heartbreakingly honest, I felt I was listening to the characters talk directly to me. Their voices were so real. She managed to convey the inner most thoughts and emotional conflict of both a teenage boy with dreams of the major leagues and a 600 pound reclusive professor who hasn¿t been outside his home in a decade. How their lives relate to each other is through the boy¿s mother, once a student of the professor, now a sick and lonely alcoholic. This book was one I could not put down. I found myself caring deeply about all of the people - including the professor¿s housekeeper who has problems of her own. I recommend this book to all who love stories that don¿t end tied up all nice and tidy with a big ribbon, yet still manage to make you feel hopeful - kind of like real life.
Beamis12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a fascinating story, not because the story has a lot of action, but because it is so real. The characters are wonderful, Arthur who had been a college professor, but has now ballooned to over 550 lbs. and has not left his house in ten years, Kel, who is 17 and a baseball prodigy and a young woman who is pregnant instead of finishing her senior year in high school. What these characters mean to each other is the basis of this novel as well as how they change each other. Definitely makes one think about hopes and dreams, the way things don't turn out as planned and how important the people in our lives are.Very well written and touching at one point I just felt like giving them all a big hug.
MayaP on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I¿m a sucker for recluses and wounded souls so I couldn¿t wait to get hold of Heft, the story of lonely Arthur Orr, former college professor, who hasn¿t left his house since 9/11. Arthur now weights 550 pounds, his only solace is food and TV, his only friend, an occassional penpal, Charlene, one of his former students whose close friendship cost him his job. Arthur has never told Charlene about his problems, his weight, that he hasn¿t worked for eighteen years ¿ until he suddenly feels the need to tell the truth. He sends Charlene a confessional letter. It¿s been a year since Charlene last wrote, but in response, she contacts Arthur and tells him she has a secret too, an eighteen year old son, Kel. Kel needs help, will Arthur help him? Believing he will have to shelter Kel for a while, Arthur realises he needs to sort out his dirty and neglected house. He hires a maid, Yolanda. Yolanda has family troubles of her own, and is pregnant¿Heft is a story of the gradual thawing of the lives of two people frozen by loneliness, the gradual re-connect to real life and the lives of others. A small story in many ways, an every day tale of people who could not connect with their parents and grew up damaged, somehow; wounded by life.I can¿t claim I ever felt connected to Arthur or Kel, but I never ceased to care about them or wonder what would happen next; Heft is a very readable novel, the story gently gripping. Arthur and Kel have distinct voices, reflecting their - apparently - very different lives, but there's a thread of disconnect and deep loneliness that connects them both, as does Kel¿s mother, Charlene, Arthur¿s never-forgotten friend, who's the loneliest and most wounded of all.The two stories eventually turn back upon themselves: similarities in the lives of Kel and Arthur emerge; they are more alike than they could ever know. The story circles, Arthur and Kel finally meet - a meeting we don¿t get to see, because that¿s where Heft ends; perfectly. There¿s no neat, pat joyous ending with all the threads tied up in a neat bundle; that would not be honest or real, and Heft is never less than totally honest, entirely real. It ends on a note of hope and a fresh anticipation of new life: Arthur and Kel do have a future, but what those futures hold, is up to you.
alexann on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Arthur Opp has admitted to himself that he has a problem. Since his "early retirement" as a college professor (meaning he just stopped showing up) he has become more and more reclusive. He orders everything he needs by phone or through the internet, and has it delivered. His greatest joy is eating; thus his current weight of 550. Through the last 20 years his only real contact with the outside world has been his irregular correspondence with Charlotte, a young woman he met when she took one of his classes. When conversation occurs only through letters, it's all too easy to embellish one's life a bit--or to simply not mention other little facts of one's life, like, for instance, the fact that Charlotte was married and had a son, Kel. Kel loves his mom, but as a popular teen he is so embarrassed by her drinking! Due to his mom's connections and pushing, Kel attends school in a wealthy part of his city, rather than the neighborhood where he grew up. Although he feels a little out of place there, he manages to fit in. A star at baseball, he hopes to break out of his present life by playing big league ball, but right now is caught up in typical teen problems--love, drinking, who are his friends, really! When Charlotte breaks her silence by calling Arthur and telling him that she and Kel would like to come visit him, it throws Arthur into a tizzy. He looks around his beautiful home, and realizes that it's a pigpen. He may not qualify to be on "Hoarders", but it's close. After a half-hearted attempt at tidying up, he realizes it's more than he can manage. He gets out his trusty Yellow Pages and calls Home-Maid for help. They send Yolanda into his life--a tiny Hispanic force whose visits he soon looks forward to. And Arthur's life begins to change, slowly and inexorably. Moore has given us so many real and sympathetic characters in her story of misfits, that the reader become attached to them very quickly. The points of view shift between Arthur and Kel, but the transitions are not jarring, and it doesn't take long to catch up when the author makes the changes. Both main characters have important stories to tell, and we enjoy spending time with each. It's a quick read because both stories are so compelling that it's hard to put the book down! By turns amusing and heartbreaking, this is no doubt one of the best books of the year.
2wonderY on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The author spent way too much time painting the characters and still failed to make me sympathize. Though the story premise is interesting, it bogged down so badly I couldn't take the time to finish it.
TheLostEntwife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was taken aback by this story. It seemed interesting enough, and I thought I would enjoy it - but I didn't expect to fall in love with the story.Liz Moore has really captured what it is like to deal with the shame of being overweight - morbidly so. Arthur Opp's emotions, how he deals with his feelings, his love of food (and the reason he loves it so), and his interactions with the people around him are spot on.While I connected more to Arthur than with the other characters in the book, I did find the interweaving story lines kept my interest - no, they grabbed my interest and held. My only complaint is that I ended up wishing the story had been more about Arthur and Yolanda, rather than Arthur and Kel (Kel was interesting, don't get me wrong - but he really was overshone by both Arthur and Yolanda).I highly recommend this book if you are wanting a read that will get you engrossed in the story, and help you understand other perspectives more.
shazjhb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. Not sure why the author needed to use different fonts for the two main voices.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the characters in this book and their intertwining stories, like other reviews I didn't want it to end and was imagining "what happened after" for quite a while. Very believable storyline, conversations and circumstances. Sympathetic characters. Couldn't put it down, currently recommending to everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The title is about so many aspects of every persons life. I feel in love with the characters in this novel and their indivdual stories. And the way that the intersect with each other. So much so that I want MORE of this story!!! Please let there be a sequel!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fiction. This one covers primarily the lives of two people, I won't reveal how they are or are not connected, that is one of the driving forces of the book. The main character is a former professor who no longer leaves his home because he is over 500 pounds and has become a charming agoraphobic of sorts. The other primary character is a young college-bound guy who is trying to get a baseball scholarship so he can go to college. The specific story details of this one are not so important, as it is about the lives of the two men and the challenges they face, both physical, psychological, and social. I would recommend this for a fictional read that makes you think and evaluate life today.
Sassyg1rl More than 1 year ago
Disjointed storyline and stereotypical characters behaving as expected.