cover image Heft


Liz Moore. Norton, $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-393-08150-3

Moore (The Words of Every Song) taps the fascinating psyche of the morbidly obese in her second novel, a stout volume with a split narrative between corpulent recluse Arthur Opp and Kel Keller, an admired high school baseball player. Though slow to start, Moore succeeds in creating an insightful page-turner that seeks to demystify archetypal characters. Arthur is a reclusive, independently wealthy ex-professor who occupies the lower floors of his family home. A sporadic correspondence with former student Charlene sustains him for years until her surprise phone call pushes him to rejoin society. Charlene is the common link between Arthur and Kel, who narrates the book’s latter half and who, despite his apparent charmed existence, actually leads something of a double life caring for his alcoholic mother. As the story slowly unfolds, the importance of the connections between the three becomes increasingly evident. The writing is quirky, sometimes to a fault, yet original, but the diptych structure is less successful, as the respective first-person narrators are sometimes indistinct. Regardless, Moore’s second novel wears its few kinks well. Agent: Sterling Lord Literistic. (Jan.)