‘Heft’ is a tale revolving around the two distant lives of Arthur Opp and Kel Keller, the two most influential men in Charlene’s life.
The narration is skilfully divided between the two characters and overall flows effectively, however what was disappointing about this novel is that I enjoyed the narration of Arthur far more than I did the narration of Kel. I found the character development and personality of the teenager’s narration disappointingly unrealistic, which is a shame considering how enjoyable I found the loveable and well built life of Arthur Opp. Despite that, I was on many occasions drawn into Kel’s emotional turmoil: I felt frustration and sadness on his behalf and I was moved by what he went through. However, in my opinion, his narration was far too stable and well-thought out to realistically match the teenage habits and misdeeds he partook in, thus rendering his character inaptly contradictory.
I did enjoy the relationship between Arthur, the overweight former teacher, and his new house maid: Yolanda (so much so that I could have happily read a novel about just these two characters). Their relationship is one between two lonely outcasts, however one has a positive outlook on life whilst the other negative. Moore blends comedy, fear, loneliness and satisfaction engagingly within Arthur’s narration, and I emphasise once again my despondency that this blend wasn’t sustained throughout the entire novel, as its strength was lost between the deviation between the two narrators. However, I can’t claim this to be a bad novel. I would conclude it to be a mildly enjoyable read as it did move me and entertain me at times, but unfortunately my emotions were only engaged periodically and for far too brief a period of time. ★★★
1. Keeping it in the family, the three talented Brontë sisters published their writing under the surname Bell. Emily published Wuthering Heights as Ellis Bell, Charlotte brought out Jane Eyre as Currer Bell and Anne used Acton Bell to release The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, as well as their joint poetry collections and other works.
2. A. S. Byatt was born Dame Antonia Susan Duffy, but has been publishing writing under her androgynous pseudonym since 1964. Her novelist sister uses her birth name professionally.
3. Vita Sackville-West’s gender-confusing pen name is a shortened version of the far flouncier The Hon Victoria Mary Sackville-West, Lady Nicolson, which she was born with. Famously the lover and muse of Virginia Woolf, Sackville-West published novels and poetry under her pen name, including The Edwardians and All Passion Spent.
4. Despite bringing out the best-selling book series in history (Harry Potter, if you hadn’t heard) in 1997, J.K. Rowling was advised by her publisher to swap her full name for two initials. Born Joanne Rowling, she chose ‘K’ from her grandmother Kathleen, which she adopted again during the Leveson Inquiry when she gave evidence.
5. Jane Austen published her debut novel Sense and Sensibility using merely ‘A Lady’ in 1811. The fact that she was happy to show herself as a woman, but not identify herself further, has mystified academics ever since.
6. Harper Lee dropped the ‘Nelle’ at the beginning of her name to publish her only novel, the autobiographical To Kill A Mockingbird.
7. George Eliot was born Mary Ann Evans, and went on to author seven hugely successful novels, including Mill on the Floss and Middlemarch - which has been deemed the greatest novel in the English language by authors Martin Amis and Julian Barnes. She wanted to be taken seriously, and thus used her male pseudonym, and is still known as such today.
8. An author used to both different languages and pen names, Karen Blixen has published under Isak Dinesen, Osceola and Pierre Andrézel and is famous for her novel Out Of Africa.
9. Despite being deemed the “first modern writer for children” by biographer Julia Briggs, Edith ‘E.’ Nesbit published over 40 children’s books using her first initial, rather than her full name.
The Ten Literary Artists One Must Allow into One's Life (at least one)
So, I’ve been asked a couple of time for my opinions on the best authors/poets/playwrights, and obviously, I can’t really settle on a definite answer. So, I decided to sum up the question into two lists of twenty novelists/poets/playwrights whom I think should be in your life at least once. They aren’t necessarily the authors of my favourite books, but they, in my opinion, have consistant strength throughout all their works which makes them the most powerful of artists, and thus, one should just dip into at least one of their works at least once in one’s life to feel more insync with the literary world.
Without further adieu, I present to you my recommended necessary literary artists.