“Heft is a novel both heartbreaking and hopeful, with characters who navigate the waters of love and family as if afraid of drowning. Arthur Opp, initially larger-than-life only in the physical sense, emerges as an intelligent and caring man, who the reader eagerly cheers on in his attempts to trust himself and others. Moore's writing hums as she gives voice to those we've chosen not to hear and illuminates those we've chosen not to see.”
— Dawn Rennert, The Concord Bookshop, Concord, MA
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.
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.
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.
A suspenseful, restorative novel from one of our fine young voices. — Colum McCann
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
Heft is a work that radiantly combines compassion and a clear eyed vision. This is a novel of rare originality and sophistication.
— Mary Gordon
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
[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.