02 March 2012

Heft - Liz Moore

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (January 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393081508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393081503


 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.


Heft is a haunting portrait of isolation, alienation and hope.  Ms. Moore's deft realization of her characters was perfection....each person had a clear and distinct voice and while Moore places them in difficult circumstances she manages to abstain from melodrama and remain ever truthful-Moore truly shows immense respect for her characters. I immediately became immersed, intrigued and enthralled by this novel...I read it in a scant three days, often staying up late to read just a bit more (thank you Ms. Moore for some very sleepy days!).

Now, normally I hate a cliffhanger ending and Heft definitely leaves the reader hanging.  However, in this particular situation, I actually liked it-dare I say, prefer, this abrupt and slightly dissatisfactory ending to such a well liked novel?  Moore's decision to end this story firmly rooted with a question mark was in my opinion brilliant.  Moore's characters had all progressed personally to such a point that literally the future was wide open to them...possibilities abounded for them. It is left to the reader to imagine their futures and I found it lovely to think of all the wonderful ways their lives could end up...these will be well loved characters by all readers and I can only imagine all the beautiful things that the readers of Heft will dream up for them.



Liz Moore is a writer, musician, and teacher.
She wrote most of her first novel, The Words of Every Song (Broadway Books, 2007), while in college. The book, which centers on a fictional record company in present-day New York City, draws partly on Liz’s own experiences as a musician. It was selected for Borders’ Original Voices program, received 3.5/4 stars in PEOPLE Magazine, and was given a starred review by Kirkus. Roddy Doyle wrote of it, “This is a remarkable novel, elegant, wise, and beautifully constructed. I loved the book.”
After the publication of her debut novel, Liz released an album, Backyards, and obtained her MFA in Fiction from Hunter College, where she studied with Peter Carey, Colum McCann, and Nathan Englander. After being awarded the University of Pennsylvania’s ArtsEdge residency, she moved to Philadelphia in the summer of 2009. She has taught Creative Writing at Hunter College and the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Writing at Holy Family University in Philadelphia, where she lives.
Her second novel, Heft, was published by W.W. Norton in January 2012.

* I received an advance copy from the publisher for purposes of review. I was in no way obligated to write a review much less a favorable one. The opinions stated herein are all my own.


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