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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two men, the women in their lives, a joy to have read.
It was the cover that first attracted me. I guess that is often the case, and the blurb on the back was fascinating, introducing as it does Arthur Opp, former college professor, who is a very large guy at 550lbs. Arthur, now in his 60s, and as big as a house, lives in a brownstone in Brooklyn. He doesn't get out at all, living on a generous allowance from his estranged...
Published on 21 Aug. 2012 by Both the Macs

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars two loosely interlinked narratives, one (for me) much more persuasive than the other
Two loosely interlinked narratives here, one of a very seriously obese 58-year-old former academic, now house-bound (and his past relationship with a student and developing relationship with a house cleaner), the other of a 17 year old with a mother who drinks and suffers from lupus who has been transplanted from his local school to a very upmarket school across town -...
Published on 22 Sept. 2012 by William Jordan


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two men, the women in their lives, a joy to have read., 21 Aug. 2012
By 
This review is from: Heft (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It was the cover that first attracted me. I guess that is often the case, and the blurb on the back was fascinating, introducing as it does Arthur Opp, former college professor, who is a very large guy at 550lbs. Arthur, now in his 60s, and as big as a house, lives in a brownstone in Brooklyn. He doesn't get out at all, living on a generous allowance from his estranged and very elderly father, and ordering food and everything else on the internet. He hires a cleaner, Yolanda, a very young, and pregnant Hispanic who proceeds to put his house in order.

Arthur has been writing, for 17 years, to Charlene, who once attended one of his evening classes, and who he fell in love with, but could not bring himself to tell. She has a son, Kel, 17 and at high school and aiming for a career in baseball; and she also has Lupus, a painful disease, and an alcohol problem.

Kel is looking for his father, Charlene is looking for a good life for her son, Arthur, praying every night that he might loose weight whilst spending all day eating, is looking for - something.

What a wonderful set of major characters - all damaged in some way, but all of them lovable for various reasons. A book that may make you question that old chestnut about blood being thicker than water. And a new writing style for me. Sections told by Arthur and Kel, both in the first person, which you may think you don't like, but which make you get to know and love those characters because you are in their heads, as it were. Written by a woman, but gentlemen, do not let this put you off! You will recognise yourself somewhere in one of the characters. I read it at one sitting, wishing at the end of each chapter that I could put it down because I was enjoying myself so much that I didn't want it to end but rushing toward the finish just wanting it to come to the right conclusion!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Families come in all shapes and sizes, 23 Feb. 2013
By 
Denise4891 (Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Heft (Paperback)
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Heft is a delightful book, heartwarming (but not schmaltzy) with two very different but equally endearing lead characters.

Arthur Opp is a morbidly obese, housebound former professor who once had a very brief but meaningful liaison with a former student, Charlene Turner. He hasn't heard from Charlene for 20 years, during which time his life has shrunk (unlike his body) to a point where his only contact with the outside world is through online shopping and visits from delivery men. Charlene telephones him out of the blue to ask that he help her son Kel with his college applications. This unexpected contact gives the reclusive Arthur a new lease of life as he sets about sprucing up his home in anticipation of the visit of Charlene and her son , but unfortunately for Arthur things don't go according to plan.

The story is told from the viewpoints of Arthur and Kel and they both make very likeable and engaging narrators. Kel is a happy and well-adjusted teenager, a gifted sportsman who is popular and respected amongst his peers. The only dark cloud in life is the responsibility he bears in looking after his mother Charlene.

In their own very different ways, both Arthur and Kel are two lost souls who come to symbolise what it means to be lonely and isolated, but also how even the briefest human contact can lead to hope and opportunity. Liz Moore has created two very empathetic and memorable characters as well as an engaging and believable supporting cast. I was totally absorbed in their worlds and was sorry to leave them behind when I finished the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you read one book this year, read this, 15 Aug. 2012
By 
the lambanana "the lambanana" (liverpool) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Heft (Paperback)
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Set in America, at over 39 stones Arthur Opp is morbidly obese. The type of fat that people point at, stare at, or tell their children not to gasp at. I did find it interesting to have a character who was overweight and had eating issues who wasn't female.

I certainly had some preconceptions about Arthur who over the past 20 years has become a solitary and housebound individual.

But the book isn't about the weight, it's about class.

America may say they don't have a class system but the novel explores the tension between different backgrounds, how they mingle, how they are really set in their 'class' as children.

That's my take on it and although that sounds a little dull, it's not. The detail, the story, the dialogue all skip along to make this a thought provoking and superb book that I found compelling.

It's not predictable.

It's not formulaic.

It's full hope and very very subtle.

And It's my favourite book of this year (2012)

RECOMMENDED
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A slightly sad but uplifting read!!!, 11 July 2012
By 
A. Douglas (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Heft (Paperback)
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I wasn't sure what to make of this book when I started reading it. It's written from the view point of a man called Arthur Opp who has basically been a recluse for the last 10 years. He doesn't go out any further than his door step and then that is olny to sign for a delivery. He never married and has no family that he still keeps in touch with. His life is slipping away from him. His only link to the outside world are letters he exchanges with a girl he once knew called Charlene.

The Charlene he remembers is a lot different to the woman she has now become. She is also trapped in her life and she reaches out to Arthur in the hope that he will help her son Kel.

Kel struggles to take care of his mum and doesn't understand fully how she has become a lost soul.

The lettert from Charlene pushes Arthur to try to sort him self out for their meeting. He envisages Charlene and Kel visiting him etc. Due to his size, Arthur worries what other people will think of him but wants to do something. He hires a cleaner who turns out to be a lifeline for him. She's a good character.

As you go through the book, you make the journey with Arthur and Kel as they decide that they can either waste their lives or get on with them. This book doesn't have any shock twists or turns. It's just about two people who have not had the happiest existence so far but try to make the best of it and move forward. I enjoyed it, it makes you think of all the times you don't change things you are not completely happy with. It's a good thoughtful read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreakingly real and full of hope., 6 May 2012
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Book Critic (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Heft (Paperback)
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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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly enjoyable, 21 April 2012
By 
Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Heft (Paperback)
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I thought this was a terrifically enjoyable book. A tale of an immensely fat, reclusive New Yorker and a slightly troubled young man from a difficult home doesn't sound that alluring because there are so many ways in which it could have been dreadful, but it turned out to be remarkably insightful, compassionate and readable.

It is almost impossible to give an idea of the story without giving away more than I would have wanted to know before starting the book so I won't try, but told in two first-person narratives, this is a novel about loneliness and belonging, family and bereavement, kindness and possibility. Liz Moore shows real insight into the inner lives of her two male narrators and gives them completely convincing voices. They are very different characters, but both are fundamentally good-hearted people with problems. Moore avoids the pitfalls of tedium or sentimentality which could so easily ruin a book like this, and she paints illuminating and compassionate portraits of both characters so that I found myself very bound up with their stories. I was drawn in from the start and, even though it isn't a "suspense" novel, there are secrets to be revealed. It is very well structured and paced, so I became really gripped as things unfolded and it kept me up far too late because I didn't want to stop reading.

Rather against my expectations, I found this a really thoughtful, enjoyable and touching book and I recommend it very warmly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An emotional and touching story, 19 July 2012
This review is from: Heft (Paperback)
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'Heft' didn't meet my expectations, it exceeded them. When I started reading this book I expected it to be a relatively light read and I didn't anticipate reading it would move me in the way that it has done. It is an emotional and touching story of two people: one, a dangerously obese academic, Arthur Opp, who has not stepped outside his Brooklyn home in ten years, and the other, a seventeen-year-old boy, Kel Keller, who is making his way through the painful challenges of being "the poor kid in a rich school" (back cover quote), aiming for his dream baseball career and caring for his alcohol-addicted, ill mother.

The stories of Arthur and Kel are joined through a shared commonality: Charlene, Kel's mother, is a former pupil of Arthur's who kept up a written correspondence with Arthur after she left the one and only one semester of college she completed. When she calls Arthur to tell him about her son, the phone call "jostles them into action" (back cover quote). The story alternates between the first person narratives of Arthur and Kel; their thoughts and perceptions are written with a deft hand and the book avoids pathos or cliche. It is a realistic story in that it is honest and refuses to stick to a 'happy ever after' pattern. I loved the way Liz Moore creates her characters and sets the scene: there is such heartbreaking depth to this story that anyone reading it is in for a treat, albeit a somewhat emotional one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Debut, 16 Jun. 2012
By 
Lovely Treez (Belfast, N Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Heft (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Heft is Liz Moore's debut novel and what a promising start to a writing career! Told by two very different narrators, their stories meander with the reader desperately hoping that their narratives will eventually converge and reach a common goal. In Brooklyn we have former academic, the reclusve Arthur Opp, weighing 550 pounds and confined to his home for ten years. Not too far away, in Yonkers, 17 year old Kel Keller has similar difficulties fitting in with his peers, the odd one out in a school for rich kids. Kel's mother, Charlene, is the catalyst connecting their stories, hoping that Arthur (or the Arthur she remembers from long ago) can help Kel where she has failed.

Heft is a heartwarming tale which steers a clear path through an emotional minefield, never veering into over-sentimentality. Arthur is quite matter-of-fact about his obesity and his candour is mirrored in the clear, unpretentious prose in which his tale unfolds. There is sadness, life is never seen through rose coloured glasses yet the overall tone is one of quiet optimism, a hope that all will turn out well in the end. Reading this novel made me think about what family means to different people, how friends and even acquaintances can make you feel much better about yourself than your blood relations. It's definitely a book which will provoke a wide variety of emotions and will appeal to a wide range of readers - definitely one to pass on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of two lonely people, 1 Aug. 2012
By 
K. Wright - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Heft (Paperback)
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Heft tells the stories of New Yorkers Arthur Opp and Kel Keller. 58-year old Opp used to be a professor but now is a 550lb recluse in his Brooklyn home. Keller is an aspiring baseball player living in a poor Yonkers neighbourhood who attends the exclusive Pell's Landing High School. The link between the two is Charlene, Kel's mother, who rings Opp one day, out of the blue, to ask for help with her son.

Told almost entirely from 2 points of view, Liz Moore paints a vivid picture of what life is like for the 3 main characters and their varied lifestyles. I also enjoyed the rich characterisation of the more minor characters that really helped to encapsulate the emotions of Arthur and Kel. The only slightly negative point I have would be that a lot of the time it was quite obvious what was going to happen before it actually did but not enough to lose a star in my rating. Highly recommended - a sad but ultimately uplifting read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well written page turner!, 2 May 2012
By 
Clare Mccann (Chichester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Heft (Paperback)
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I was drawn to this book by the promise of an insight into the mind of a character who was obese, and it did not disappoint. Between his affectionate descriptions of food, you get to understand the mind of the lonely and sad man that is Arthur Opp, but don't for a minute think it is depressing reading! Arthur is fascinating and he is written in such an intimate way that you can't help but love him. Weaving between the story of Arthur's life is the story of Kel, 30 odd-years younger, but still as lost and confused as Arthur. You are desperate for them to meet and the promise of a meeting keeps you turning the pages right till the end.

I loved this book and believed completely in Arthur's world - less so Kel's, but Arthur is the main star of this book! Definitely a read I would recommend.
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Heft
Heft by Liz Moore (Paperback - 28 Mar. 2013)
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