The Heights

The Heights

by Peter Hedges

Audio CD(Unabridged, 7 CDs, 9 hours)

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Unabridged CDs, 7 CDs, 8 hours

Read by Read by Peter Hedges, Amy Ryan and Alison Pill.

The new novel by Oscar-nominated writer and director Peter Hedges: poor parents, rich parents, private schools, real estate, adultery, and marriage, in Brooklyn's wealthiest enclave.

Tim Welch is a popular history teacher at the Montague Academy, an exclusive private school in Brooklyn Heights. As he says, "I was an odd-looking, gawky kid but I like to think my rocky start forced me to develop empathy, kindness, and a tendency to be enthusiastic. All of this, I'm now convinced, helped in my quest to be worthy of Kate Oliver." Now, Kate is not inherently ordinary. But she aspires to be. She stays home with their two young sons in a modest apartment trying desperately to become the parent she never had. They are seemingly the last middle-class family in the Heights, whose world is turned upside down by Anna Brody, the new neighbor who moves into the most expensive brownstone in Brooklyn, sending the local society into a tailspin.

Anna is not only beautiful and wealthy; she's also mysterious. And for reasons Kate doesn't quite understand, even as all the Range Rover- driving moms jockey for invitations into Anna's circle, Anna sets her sights on Kate and Tim and brings them into her world.

Like Tom Perrotta, Peter Hedges has a keen eye for the surprising truths of daily life. The Heights is at once light of touch and packed with emotion and depth of character.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143145318
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date: 03/04/2010
Edition description: Unabridged, 7 CDs, 9 hours
Pages: 1
Product dimensions: 5.32(w) x 5.88(h) x 0.81(d)
Age Range: 18 - 17 Years

About the Author

PETER HEDGES is a novelist, playwright, and filmmaker. He wrote both the novel and the screenplay What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and is the writer-director of Pieces of April starring Katie Holmes and Dan in Real Life starring Steve Carrell. His screenplay for About a Boy was nominated for an Academy Award. Hedges lives with his wife and children in Brooklyn, New York.

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The Heights 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
jillynyc More than 1 year ago
I loved the characters and the plot twists in this book that let me escape my busy, tedious days. I wanted to be friends with the characters and live in their neighborhood and meet their kids. At points the book made me think my life was boring, but thankfully so! My only regret is that I brought this book on a weeklong vacation with my kids and I couldn't put it down so I was finished on the second day. And then, of course, I spent the remaining 5 days daydreaming about the families, like they were my friends. Just like his other books, Hedges takes what seems like it would be mundane and uncovers the drama, excitement and reality in the situation. As always, he was brilliant. Definitely read this book. Would be great for a book club.
miyurose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked this more than I expected to. For some reason, I had been putting off reading it, afraid that it was going to come off as pretentious. Thankfully, I was wrong. It wasn¿t pretentious, but it was one of those novels that didn¿t really go far.I was able to connect much more with Tim than with Kate. Tim is a bumbling young father who is somewhat misguided, and more than a little confused about what he wants out of life. Kate was much more dry, and frankly, uninteresting. It¿s telling that, several weeks after I¿ve finished the book, I can¿t remember anything about her character other than she went from being a stay-at-home mom to the sole breadwinner.Anna Brody could have been an interesting character, but she¿s a little too mysterious. I have no idea what she may have seen in Tim, other than that he was there. I think the story would have benefited from some further exploration of that situation.The book has been compared to Tom Perrotta, but it lacks some of Perrotta¿s depth. Overall, I¿m not sorry I read it, but it¿s not a story that¿s going to stick with me.
jatrees on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really liked the characters in this book - oh so flawed and memorable! Would have liked to see more from Bea, but her entrances and exits were already a little too contrived to make a whole lot of sense. Plot moved along nicely.
Chirtie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy from Penguin Books. It was an interesting read into the collapse (or maybe not) of a seemingly good relationship. I found the characters to be generally likable even if they were sometimes hard to believe. At first, the relationship between Kate and Tim Welch seemed good, but as the story continued, it seemed more and more that Kate had settled for the mediocre Tim because he was nicer than the men of her previous experiences. At times, I could see the appeal of Tim for Kate but really couldn't reconcile her ambition and strength with his lack of drive and his propensity for tears. Her character just seemed too strong for him. I had a hard time believing that a woman like Kate would stay with a man like Tim for any length of time.As I neared the end of the book I found myself predicting the ending. I wasn't really surprised but neither was I entirely satisfied with the novel's close. While the ending was amusing in a creepy kind of way, I wanted more from the perspectives of Kate and Tim.Perhaps, the author was trying to make a point about ambition and the reversal of gender roles and how power differentials in any relationship can be destructive. Overall, an entertaining read.
Mariecg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Heights is about a couple, Kate and Tim, and the impact the arrival of a new neighbor has on their life. Tim is a teacher and Kate a stay-at-home mother when they meet Anna, a woman who seems to have it all, or so it seems at first to Kate. When Kate is offered to go back to work, Tim decides it's high time he works on his dissertation and it's his turn to stay home with their two sons. And Anna is about to teach them what is important in life...The novel is written in short chapters, alternating between Kate and Tim as narrator, with some incursions from other characters. I so wanted to love that novel, but it never really reached my expectations... some scenes sounded so real (especially scenes with and about the kids) while some other situations were cliched and "felt wrong".
Letter4No1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tim Welch is a history teacher at a private school still working on his dissertation about loss. Kate Welch is a stay at home mom who loves taking care of her children. Everything changes when they meet Anna Brody. Tim takes a year off, Kate gets a job. New feelings appear. Told from several different perspectives, but mainly Tim and Kate you get to learn what life is like in the Heights.Hedges, who wrote both the novel and screenplay for Whats Eating Gilbert Grape as well as several other screenplays has come up with one of the most over told stories ever. It's rare for an avid reader, such as myself to think "This would be better as a movie" but it's true. The story unfolds like some mediocre character driven drama. The book itself reads like an Oscar nominee, not an Oscar winner, one of those dry dramas where everyone makes bad choices and says terrible things and people rave about it for a few weeks and then when they think about it years latery they're all like 'yeah, that was kind of terrible'. The characters themselves are contrived, Kate is endearing in the beginning before she becomes annoying. Tim is interesting before becoming pathetic. Anna Brody is always mysterious before you realize she is about to cause to most uneventful causal event ever.There is obviously a demographic for novels like this, and with it being only 293 pages it's a little hard to justify putting it down. Hedges, stick to writing for the screen. Love your movies, hated this novel.
VivienneR on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The format of short chapters with alternating narrators makes this book easy to read. The main characters, Tim and Kate, were well drawn although I found the weak story was not enough to sustain them and their personality faded towards the end. Some scenes were puzzling - in Disney World, when Kate wanted her boys to see something "real" she insisted on having them stand in line with everyone else instead of using VIP access. Obviously this was intended to demonstrate the contrast between ordinary and privileged but it came across as trite and unconnected even though the story is about the wealthy and the wealthier. In such a materialistic setting it was unsurprising that philanthropic endeavors did not materialize. This is a story with little substance, more suited to a television soap opera where it would likely be successful. Given the author's history of writing screenplays this is understandable. If I were to recommend this, it would be as a light holiday read.
billiondollarpr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was a very good read. It is about life and relationships. It is narrative from the perspective of both of the main characters, the husband and the wife. It was very easy to read and i was done in less tthan a week. It is also a very humorous read. The author has written a few screenplays and i could see this being turned into a future film. It has a certain cinematic feel to it. So if you enjoyed Dan In Real Life, then i recommend this!
meags222 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy from Penguin Books. The author also wrote [What's Eating Gilbert Grape] so I was looking forward to it. The book was very well written and I had a hard time putting it down. That being said the plot was a bit strange. Essentially the book is about a married couple, Tim and Kate, with two children. In the beginning the wife is a stay at home mom and the husband is a history teacher working on his dissertation. They live in a nice area of New York and they seem to have a good life. By the end of the novel, the status of their marriage is in question and the wife is working while the husband works on his dissertation. The moment of crisis occurs when a high profile couple move into the neighbourhood and Anna, the high profile wife, becomes friends with both Tim and Kate. I won't say too much else because I don't want to give too much away but I had a hard time deciding who I was cheering for. At times I thought Kate and Tim had a great relationship and at others I thought they were doomed from the beginning. I wasn't sure if Kate really loved Tim but then in the end there was a shift where I wondered does Tim really love Kate. I also couldn't decide if I felt sorry for Anna or if I just thought she was manipulative. Despite my indecision about the characters, overall this a good read and I give the book 3 out of 5 stars.
coolmama on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I usually seek out books told from multiple perspectives.This one, however, has all 3 narrators told in the same voice. There was nothing to distinguish or seperate their stories, and hence they all sounded the same and quite bland. The point of different narrators is to tell the stories from their view - not the same story!Tim and Kate have a perfect life in Brooklyn Heights, until, rich, beautiful Anna shows up and rocks both their worlds.
dablackwood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting story that reads like a screen play. A young couple living in Brooklyn Heights face the temptations of infidelity in their marriage when a glamorous, super rich couple move to their neighborhood. I sort of liked the characters - particularly the young husband, Tim, who is teaching at a private school and trying to finish his dissertation.
WCollett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this book an entertaining read. The young couple were faced with many of the challenges we all face. They had a solid marriage, despite the pressure of living up to their neighbours. The decision that seemed to change all is blamed on being friends with the arrival of a new comer to the heights, my question is, is it really her fault or perhaps a charachter flaw of the young couples relationshipo, that they were not able to focus and discuss what was going on. Perhaps they just forgot what was really important in their goal to move up in society.The relationships and interaction of the characters in this book are very real and believable.
serosity on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Heights by Peter Hedges started off a bit slow for me, however it did pull me in by about the 5th chapter; I finished the book within 24 hours. I liked the way the book was written in several different character's perspective, yet did not delve as deeply into the secondary character, Anna. On finishing the book however I felt that this was actually the way that it should be been written; it allowed Anna to be a bit of an enigma. I felt this is how she actually was to the other characters in the book. Overall a good read, one that I would classify as slightly heavier than a beach book.
mountie9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had a feeling I would like this one, just because the author wrote the screenplay for two delightful movies that I love, About a Boy and Dan in Real Life. He has a talent for creating characters that are flawed, complex but loveable. In other words Real! I really enjoyed this novel and did not want to put it down. It is a deftly told tale of the dangers of keeping secrets in a marriage. The storyline was compelling and the characters interesting, almost like you know people just like them. The writing is crisp and at times laugh out loud funny -- trust me, I snorted on the bus many a time! I loved the scene where Kate called Tim to tell him that there son had finally pooped in the potty. This is the world I belong to and it is truly the little things in life that parents often treasure and celebrate. This is where Peter Hedges excels in both his novels and his screenplays, he captures some of these "real" moments beautifully and truthfully. Many a time while reading this I felt myself nodding vigouresly along with some of his obervations on life, marriage and children. As a married (For 16 years) mom with two small boys I have understood and felt the emotions that Kate is struggling with. I felt myself hoping that eventhough Tim and Kate were in a situation that has destroyed many a marriage, that they would make it.My only disappointment with the novel, was the character of Anna. I didn't find her character very developed, almost like she was a cariacture of a real person. I really could not understand the fascination that the other characters had for her.Most importantly for me, there was an illustion to a happy ending for the couple. Maybe this makes me a simple person, but I NEED a happy ending for me to truly enjoy a story.Some of my favourite quotes or passages."I amused them and even myself, and for a few hours I was not only the mother I never had, I was the mother of all mothers""Hurry home, okay? We won't flush until you get here""I remembered something Tim once said: Children fall asleep so you can love them again""I mean he's begging me for it, so I make Dan the Bear an offer "Fine sweetie. Make a million by Easter and you can F*** me in the A**" ...Some Men wait their whole lives to overhear this kind of conversation. Unfortunately, it was time to go pick up Teddy and Sam from preschool, so I stood up to leave. From the stunned expressions on their collective faces, it became clear that while they hadn't noticed me before, they noticed me now..... So to put them at ease, I turned and said. "Forgive the intrusion, but what happens if he doesn't make the money?" Claudia paused. "I haven't provided for t hat" "My suggestion for what it's worth, if he doesn't make the million by Easter -- then YOU f*** him in the a**. Then Claudia slapped her knee and roared triumphantly "Yes!"I will be surprised if this novel is not turned into a movie.
lorieac on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It was interesting and a good way to kill some time while working. The author used "clearly" way too much. The audio book faded out a lot and it seemed like they were trying to set a tone but it was just annoying. It made me think something was wrong with my player. I liked the multiple character point of view narration.
RandyMetcalfe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is definitely going to be the last novel I read in which a central character has a languishing doctoral dissertation that he or she just has to get finished. Really! As Tim struggles to complete his Ph.D. his wife, Kate, takes on the challenge of changing the world through the mechanism of a philanthropic foundation that she has been asked to help set up. Kate had been at home with their two young sons, whilst Tim taught history at a local school further delaying his thesis completion. It¿s time for some role reversal, but there are more reversals to come as loves, old and new, sprinkle this comedy with ups and downs and (somewhat) predictable mayhem.Ostensibly this novel is set in wealthy but quaint Brooklyn Heights, but in reality all the reader gets is the façade of townhouses, fruit-named streets, and views of lower Manhattan. Not to worry. The story works whether or not it has real roots. And since so much of the surrounding detail ¿ Tim¿s thesis completion and oral defence; Kate¿s philanthropic foundation¿s absence of criteria for awarding grants; Anna¿s (their friend) fabulous wealth and curious marital relations ¿ is entirely fanciful and hardly believable, it is best to take it for what it is, a disneyesque cinematic impression of ¿real¿ life.The story is told in chapters alternating perspective between Tim and Kate, periodically interspersed with chapters from the perspective of other characters. The most interesting of these, perhaps, are the few chapters from the point of view of one of Tim¿s former students, Bea Myerly, who has a formidable crush on him. I liked Bea. Maybe the whole story could have been told from her perspective. In any case, the action is light, the characters are sketched in at best, and the frothy whole no doubt goes best with a skinny latte grande.
YoyoMitch More than 1 year ago
The Heights is, by evidence presented in this book, an area of Brooklyn that is “out of place” – it is inhabited by the Nuevo Riche, Trust Fund Benefactors, Hedge Fund managers and others who are friends with those “who run the world,” located inside the borough known as “the real Brooklyn.”  In this enclave, within the walls of a very modest apartment, reside the Welch family, Tim, Kate and two young boys.  Tim teaches history at the exclusive Montague Academy while he works on his Ph.D. dissertation, Kate has elected to rear their sons rather than return to her work in the Non-Profit sector.  How these two can afford to live in such a location on a teacher’s salary is never made plain, but one thing is crystal clear – their love for each other is comfortable while their surroundings become increasingly uncomfortable. When Kate is offered a job “giving money away” as part of a new non-profit charity, The Welches see this as an opportunity to switch roles for a year – Tim will complete his dissertation and care for the boys and home, Kate will provide the financial support for the family (as her new salary is approximately three times what Tim was making as a teacher).  All is wonderful in this new paradigm until Anna Broody moves into the neighborhood.  Anna is rich, mysterious, rich, classy, rich, aloof and rich.  Kate and Tim are both, for different reasons, connected to this individual who seems to embody the dreams of each of the Welch adults.  Thus begins the tension that causes this humorous, heart-breaking, “year-in-the-life-of” novel to hum with energy, intrigue and familiarity.   Mr. Hedges is a talented writer (proven in his writing the novel and screenplay What’s Eating Gilbert Grape) and has his characters grow in the course of the year the novel encompasses.  Tim goes from an overly sensitive parent unaware of his community connections to a capable father who can navigate the treacherous currents of the neighborhood city park.  Kate easily returns to her days as a Non-Profit executive, learning the painful truth that her home can run, splendidly, without her constant attention.  The minor character, Bea, is worth the investment in reading this book; she plays the role of an adolescent Jiminy Cricket to perfection, albeit with a deeply flawed point of view.  Anna Brody, a “mist that on the moors” character, provides the backdrop for the reader to witness how Kate and Tim make discoveries that propel them toward a more determined future. In this audio version, the chapters, told from the viewpoints of different characters, are voiced by three different actors.  By the time Bea completes the story well told, I was completely satisfied that my new friends in The Heights would be “just fine,” I simply would not be able to see what that looked like, exactly.  In the year witnessed, there were moments of horrible choices lived through, words spoken that blessed and cursed, growth hard-earned proven by the scars collected and joys discovered that were impossible without the excavation provided by their experiences.  This is a book for adults, as the language, situations and some of the activities are, hopefully, of an adult nature.
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bklies More than 1 year ago
I listened to the audiobook and frankly cannot believe someone described this as a page-turner. I found myself wanting the book to hurry up and end. When I read a book, I want the events to be interesting (more interesting than my life) and not mundane. Early in the book, there was no sense that something was exciting was building and, perhaps, that is because nothing was.
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LovelyLiz More than 1 year ago
when hearing bits and pieces of this story on Sirus Book radio, I knew i needed to read it. it was not at all as i expected. the twist in the end showed a planned infidelity is nit as promised as a one sided infidelity. very interesting book.
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