Less

Less

A Novel

eBook - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
67
1
Grand Central Pub
A struggling novelist travels the world to avoid an awkward wedding in this hilarious Pulitzer Prize-winning novel full of "arresting lyricism and beauty" (The New York Times Book Review).
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
National Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book of 2017
A Washington Post Top Ten Book of 2017
A San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten Book of 2017
Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, the Lambda Award, and the California Book Award



Who says you can't run away from your problems? You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can't say yes--it would be too awkward--and you can't say no--it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world.

QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?

ANSWER: You accept them all.

What would possibly go wrong? Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last.

Because, despite all these mishaps, missteps, misunderstandings and mistakes, Less is, above all, a love story.

A scintillating satire of the American abroad, a rumination on time and the human heart, a bittersweet romance of chances lost, by an author The New York Times has hailed as "inspired, lyrical," "elegiac," "ingenious," as well as "too sappy by half," Less shows a writer at the peak of his talents raising the curtain on our shared human comedy.

"I could not love LESS more."--Ron Charles, The Washington Post

"Andrew Sean Greer's Less is excellent company. It's no less than bedazzling, bewitching and be-wonderful."--Christopher Buckley, The New York Times Book Review



Publisher: [S.l.] : Little, Brown and Company, 2017
ISBN: 9780316465182
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: 3M Cloud Library

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment
k
Kit_k
Oct 15, 2020

At times heartbreaking and at other times hilarious. I was rooting for Arthur even when he didn't seem to be rooting for himself. Lovely commentary on the universality of love.

JCLBetM Sep 24, 2020

Not my normal choice of book, but something caught my attention and held on. Arthur Less is a bit of the bumbling hero - I regularly flipped from being annoyed with him, to feeling sorry for him, to hoping for him, to resonating with him. Sounds like a well crafted character, right? Some parts made me laugh out loud with their self deprecating wit and simple humorous astuteness of life.

VaughanPLGraeme Jul 31, 2020

This book is quite different from what I usually read, but I thought it was really fun and funny while still having some depth. From looking at other reviews here, it's obviously not for everyone, but I thought it was great.

c
Cas22
Jan 29, 2020

As previous reviews testify, this is not a book that will appeal to everyone. I, however, found it to be clever, poignant and funny. The narrative style, with its sudden switches in time, place, person and voice, can be rather disconcerting, but it still tells a powerful story of Arthur Less, a kind of gay “Everyman”, and all the little triumphs, failures, uncertainties, humiliations and absurdities of his life. A life which, at some essential level, mirrors that of our own.

d
dmd1949
Jan 04, 2020

After reading about 1/3 of the book I just couldn’t get into it so I quit reading...something I rarely do. The writing went on and on about inane things...ugh.

a
Andreevan1
Dec 30, 2019

I am going to side with the half of the audience that"just couldn't get into the book." The writing is a bit awkward and often doesn't flow. The author makes it a point to inject the text with lengthy words that feel out of context. The main character, Arthur Less, is indecisive, insecure, and boring. The story mirrors his character. Did I miss something spectacular that is hidden here? Some underwater current, a thread that connects it all? It didn't even spell a good love story to me. Not a big fan, although stuck with it till the end.

r
Rachelc24
Nov 20, 2019

I would have enjoyed reading g it better than the audio book. Good though

j
jstalmer
Oct 02, 2019

This was a far more profound novel than I first took it to be. There were parts that touched me deeply and I was surprised what I felt at the end. This novel is about so many things. All the big things and the little things under the dramatic masks of tragedy and comedy. The story is mostly about everything you really want being on the other side of fear.

I really like how the novel was organized. It gets progressively deeper and deeper while keeping its sense of humor. I think this would make a great movie depending on who was cast as the lead.

The first chapter had a breezy way about it and was light and fun and quirky. It was an excellent way to bring the reader into the story. By the time I got to page 30, the protagonist’s angst had turned into something sort of endearing.

There were so many interesting things in this novel. Such as the protagonist, once having loved and lived with a genius, wondering where that genius comes from and where it all eventually goes. He also muses about how that genius is like allowing another lover into the bed, the whole time knowing you’ll never hold a candle to that other lover. It was an interesting way to talk about living with a writer.

About a third of the way into the novel, it struck me how uncomfortable the protagonist was in almost every situation. He always seemed to feel like he was on the outside even when he was center stage. The fact that he threw himself into a frying pan of center stage after center stage is comic as well as poignant. When the protagonist alludes to being akin to a character in a Stephen King novel with a bucket of blood about to douse him, it’s both hilarious and heartbreaking.

Until about 100 pages in, the novel is mostly light and comic, though with some deep and poignant things to say. I wasn’t sure about the rhythm of the story at first, but it grew on me. I really knew the protagonist so well by this point without having been aware that the author was making sure of it. This was impressive.

The narrator’s description of the protagonist being bad in bed was really good. As was the moment when the protagonist is informed of his literary crimes and why he isn’t more successful. People are judged all the time for not living their best lives, for not getting it just right. That damn Goldilocks is everywhere. Or maybe we all have an internal Goldilocks, one that has zero clue that we think much more about what others might be thinking about us than others ever spend wondering about us.

I loved some of the author’s run-on descriptions. The novel is peppered with delightful little descriptions where the author takes on the point of view of the other. There is also lots of witty dialog salt and peppered throughout the novel.

On the surface, the novel seems like a breezy international road trip tale, but upon a deeper looks it’s really about the journey of life and how we get to where we get and how it feels when we don’t feel we are where we want or deserve to be, when all those left turns seem like not our life. It’s about realizing the life you think you aren’t living is the life you are in fact living. And the realization that you cant go back in time because there is a time and season for everything and it all goes by pretty fast. One day if you are lucky you will be old and wrinkly and no longer worrying about such shallow things as what you look like or how others see you. Who we are left with is the question and the challenge is to figure out the answer. Aging forces all of us to back away from the external and make more time for our internal life. It’s a gift for those that embrace it and a hell for those that don’t.

When you get to the end, you see the bookend of the first chapter. It was a very cool structure.

t
Trcr
Sep 29, 2019

Did I miss something? It won a Pulitzer. I read it and thought it just okay. Was there some deep meaning that is so wonderful, artistic, literary that I missed every reference? It is a book about a gay writer who is woefully lacking self awareness and probably relied on his looks most of his life. And it ends with a gay writer who is still lacking self awareness and now 50.
When it said that he accepts these invites around the world I was naively hoping that there would be some interest in descriptions of the places, events, culture that he encounters. Nope just him trying to pick up men everywhere he goes and dragging his woe is me attitude around. Boring!

5
527parkside
Sep 26, 2019

New Appleby please for pickup

View All Comments

Age

Add Age Suitability
s
samrouthier
Jul 25, 2017

samrouthier thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at ELPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top