Synopses & Reviews
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 , is a novel about love and family found in the most unexpected places.
"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." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"In , 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
" is a work that radiantly combines compassion and a clear eyed vision. This is a novel of rare originality and sophistication." Mary Gordon
"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
"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. leads to hope." People Magazine
"[W]hen you've finished and returned 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
A heartwarming novel about larger-than-life characters and second chances.
About 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.