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A Novel

Liz Moore (Author)

Overview | Formats

“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—if he can untangle himself from his difficult family life. 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 shatters their isolation. 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. It is a memorable, heartbreaking, and ultimately redemptive novel about finding sustenance and friendship in the most surprising places.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • September 2012
  • ISBN 978-0-393-34388-5
  • 5.6 × 8.3 in / 368 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverHeft: A Novel


Endorsements & Reviews

“A suspenseful, restorative novel from one of our fine young voices.” — Colum McCann

“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.” — People Magazine

“A bittersweet novel, Heft is peopled by men and women so isolated by their fear or rejection, they’ve ceased to seek meaningful connections.” — Philadelphia Inquirer

“Few novelists of recent memory have put our bleak isolation into words as clearly as Liz Moore does. . . . By the end we are in love with the characters and just want to see them happy.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“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

“This is not a novel with a happy ending, and that’s a good thing. Moore doesn’t tie her story up in a pretty package and hand it to the reader with care, but artfully acknowledges in the end that some heavy loads cannot easily be left behind.” — Minneapolis Star-Tribune

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

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