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A Suicide Letter

A Suicide Letter
Matthew J. Hefti reads from his debut novel at Talking Leaves

A Hard and Heavy Thing is a debut novel by Matt Hefti, told in the form of a suicide letter that a soldier, Levi, writes to his wounded best friend, Nick. After the September 11th attacks occur, the two young men enlist in the Iraq War impulsively, intoxicated and naive. While on the field, Levi’s poor choice as a sergeant leads his team into an attack, leaving many of his fellow soldiers dead or badly injured. However, during the attack, Levi manages to save Nick’s life, earning him a Silver Star for gallantry. Regardless of his act of bravery, Levi can’t help but feel responsible. The overwhelming guilt and post-war isolation leads him to sit down to write his final goodbyes.

The book is not dramatic simply for the purpose of being dramatic. The multiple strands of the plot, imagery and core themes are thought-provoking. The novel takes the reader on a journey through the realistic inner and outer hardships soldiers face every day—pre-, during- and post-war. Similar to the members of the “Lost Generation”—the generation in which former soldiers were disoriented and isolated during and after World War I—Levi finds himself in a downward spiral upon his return. The only way he knows to cope is to write. Quickly, though, this suicide letter becomes a love story, melody and a bridge to a new beginning.

On Saturday (1/16), author Hefti will be presenting one of his first readings of A Hard and Heavy Thing at Talking Leaves Books, 3158 Main Street. Don’t miss this “heavy” reading/discussion. It is encouraged to purchase your copy from Talking Leaves, the reading sponsor.

Matthew J. Hefti was born in Canada and grew up in Wisconsin. After 9/11, he spent 12 years as an explosive ordnance disposal technician. He deployed twice to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan, once to Iraq as an EOD team member and the remaining three tours as an EOD team leader. While enlisted, he earned a BA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing. He is now working, studying, and living in Madison, Wisconsin, where he is pursuing his Juris Doctor at the University of Wisconsin Law School.

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