Following yet another NPR recommendation, I got a copy of Heft by Liz Moore and was quickly drawn in by the flow of the prose and the characters it revealed. The sentences have a deliberate and adept succinctness that confers upon the events in Heft a measure of realism and upon the thoughts of the characters a quintessential tenderness. With this language, the first-person narratives excellently convey a sense of the convergences and divergences people’s lives can take on, and how tenuous relationships can be while the circumstances and emotions (like loneliness and sorrow) have at times an unrelenting grip.
Here’s a little bit from the beginning of the book…
She said noting in class. She gazed at me steadily from halfway down out seminar table, blinking occasionally through her large glasses, observing her classmates respectfully. Only once during the entire semester did she ever speak, and it was to volunteer an answer that was incorrect. I didn’t have the heart to correct her myself, so I turned to the class and allowed them to, and after that she returned to her silence. But she came to visit me in my office several times… p. 23
It was during those conversations that I came to believe that she was similar to me in many ways, & also that I had something to offer her. That I could help her in some way. The semester ended & I watched her walk out of my classroom after our final class and I felt a deep and abiding fear come over me that I would never see her again. p. 25