Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Heft - Liz Moore

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!

[copy of my Amazon review]