Sunday, November 17, 2013

Heft

by Liz Moore
August-October 2013

The genius of audiobooks are their use of multiple readers for main characters. You really feel like the story comes alive with each different voice. In this case, it was practically imperative.

The other bonus of audiobooks is that I'm essentially reading two books at once: one on "paper" (literally or virtually), one in my ears. As a slow reader, this allows me to stay somewhat current on my never-ending book list.

Imagine a man; smart, sensitive, but not-so-good-looking, with a bit of a damaged family history. As a college professor, Arthur Opp falls for a student. They are instantly compatible, but between the age difference and his emotional issues, a real relationship never comes to pass. They do, however, write letters for many years. Charlene's life takes another direction, but she continues to write to Arthur. Until she suddenly stops. Meanwhile, Arthur, over the years, "feeds" his feelings with food. So much food that he weighs over 550 pounds and has not left his house in years. The letters were all he had. Then out of the blue Arthur receives word from Charlene and everything changes. Enter the other side of the story, told by Kel, Charlene's son.

I can't even begin to express how much I enjoyed this book. Chapters woven between Arthur's and Kel's narratives, stories from present day and past; each one more interesting than the next. I never once guessed where Heft was going and was eager to find out. I was left thinking about what really constitutes a family, and how important it is to have loved ones who care.

I googled "awards for Heft by Liz Moore" and was surprised to find very little. Such a great book deserved more praise (although I admit, I'm not the best googler, and may have missed something). Even on Moore's own site, awards are scarce. I'm so surprised. The only one I found was the Beverly Hills Literary Escape's Medici Book Club Prize ... aka, Totally New to Me. A book like this certainly deserves more praise. You should read it and get the word out.

* * * * *