Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Heft tells the story of two people who begin the novel tightly in their shells. Arthur Opp is a 550-lb. man living a hermit's life in Brooklyn. He hasn't left his home in ten years and has no need to, as he has no friends and can have anything his heart desires delivered to his front step. Kel Keller is an 18-year old high school athlete dealing with a drunk mother afflicted with lupus. Neither man lets anyone else in on their lives; Arthur keeps the world at arm's length, while Kel is embarrassed by his home life with his mother in their small home filled with the cheapest food they can afford. Throughout the novel, though, each man gradually cracks open and lets the outside in, accepting help in a variety of forms and from unexpected sources.
It's a rich character-driven piece, satisfying in the way that only good writing can be. At the end, it's a reminder that we're all in the human experience together; there's no reason to go through it alone.
P.S. Happy Fourth of July! Are you wearing your stars and stripes?