This wonderful second novel by Liz Moore weaves two stories simultaneously. As one would expect, the two intersect by the book’s conclusion. Arthur Opp is a retired academic living in Brooklyn. Not much to rave about there. However, Opp is 500 pounds and rarely, if ever, ventures out of his house, having his food and all else he needs delivered to his front door. When he asks a maid service to clean his house, Yolanda is sent. Pregnant, under-educated, in a lousy relationship, Yolanda is just what Arthur needs to get out of his huge shell. She actually, at one points, gets him to leave the house for a walk! Alongside Arthur’s story, we get the store of (Arthur) Kel Keller, a high school baseball fanatic (he is hoping for a spot with the Mets), whose mother Charlene is quite ill. Charlene’s path, it turns out, crossed with Arthur Opp’s years ago when she enrolled for one semester in college. Ever since, Arthur and Charlene have had a friendship and, more importantly, a rich correspondence.
When Charlene dies, Kel begins to investigate his own origins. Is he Arthur Opp’s son? Perhaps. The novel is well-written, humorous, and compassionate. A thoroughly enjoyable read that will keep you wanting a resolution until the final page. Reading this book compelled me to search out Moore’s debut novel, The Words of Every Song. It now sits on my “to-read” pile.
Liz Moore, Heft. New York: Norton, 2012. 352pp. 978-0393081503. 24.95.