Less

Less

A Novel

Book - 2017
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A struggling novelist travels the world to avoid an awkward wedding in this hilarious Pulitzer Prize-winning novel full of "arresting lyricism and beauty" ( 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

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

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

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.

Publisher: New York : A Lee Boudreaux Book, Little, Brown and Company, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780316316125
0316316121
Branch Call Number: Fic
Characteristics: 263 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

2018's Winner

List - 2018 Pulitzer Prizes
SLPL_Trends Apr 17, 2018

Fiction: "A generous book, musical in its prose and expansive in its structure and range, about growing older and the essential nature of love,"


From the critics


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c
cmurrin
Jul 18, 2018

I agree with several other reviewers that this is a well-written novel, sometimes humorous and witty, easy to read, but lacking much depth. I am puzzled by it winning the Pulitzer Prize. It is the story of a middle-aged gay writer dreading the approach of his 50th birthday and trying to put his emotional life back together after his lover, Freddy, leaves him. He travels the world seeking insight and as an escape. I just could not connect with Arthur Less, the protagonist, as he reminisced about his previous loves and found chance, brief encounters along his journey. One aspect in particular that I found missing was any insight into his previous relationships. It seems that living with a partner for 15 years (Robert) and 9 years (Freddy) would involve more emotional connection than enjoyable romps in bed. That does not come out in the novel until perhaps the last 6-8 pages. Maybe I missed something, but I was not impressed and finished thinking I have just finished a nice, light weight summer read.

m
mclarjh
Jul 16, 2018

Too Gay? Too Gay!

d
Dannyboy2452
Jul 01, 2018

This is a very enjoyable read; it is insightful and funny, sometimes in a bittersweet way. In some senses, the book does not have the weight and substance a Pulitzer Prize would seem to imply, but Greer has lots of great stuff to say about aging, relationships, gayness, and writing. Well worth your time (and it's relatively short, won't take you long to get through).

k
krsbozo
Jun 17, 2018

I loved this book, laughed out loud many times, and finished in two days. Then my wife read it and loved it, too.

l
llwboston
Jun 12, 2018

At times wistful, at times wildly humorous account of Arthur Less's travels as he tries to heal a broken heart and at the same time resurrect his literary career. Mildly satirical portraits of successful creative types, and a very engaging travelogue. Enjoyable reading (I laughed out loud a few times), though I can't quite rave about it the way the Pulitzer committee did. Heartfelt, but not particularly deep.

e
EmilyEm
Jun 11, 2018

Arthur Less is having a midlife crises and sets out on a round-the-world journey, hoping to make sense of it all. Irreverent, funny, thoughtful. Perfect summer reading.

c
Candaceb108
May 16, 2018

This book was recommended somewhere, probably the NYT. It is a light read, in parts very funny, but not consistently. I kept plugging as it is a short book. In the end I guess I just wanted Less.

l
laphampeak
May 06, 2018

It almost has "A Man Called Ove" vibe to it. Sensitive, sweet, humorous...Sequencing the story through his visits to various continents with intertwinings of his romantic relationships, combined with his quips and thoughts on aging made for an endearing, lively piece.

l
LucasHill
May 04, 2018

As cliché as it sounds, this literary romance has heart and humanity. Arthur Less is at his personal and professional wit's end. He's been unable to convince his long-time publisher to greenlight his newest book, and his most successful relationships are all in the past. He has no one to whom he is very close, no family, and the gay community calls.him a "bad gay" for how he's been portraying them in his work. In order to do something with himself, and also to avoid going to an ex's wedding, he goes on a globetrotting trip, taking temporary academic positions others have passed on (and he normally would, too).

Greer knows how to turn a phrase, but there isn't much story here. Less moves from one mini-adventure to another, and the spiritual payoff just seems to occur because that's just what happens in stories like this. I wasn't invested too much. The jacket blurbs suggest this will have you rolling in laughter. I chuckled a bit, but I found it more heartwarming (genuinely so) than funny.

I must say that my review is tepid not because this won the Pulitzer and I'm going against the grain, but because this is my genuinely reaction to the novel. It's a pretty average book.

debwalker Apr 18, 2018

Just won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The committee calls it “a generous book, musical in its prose and expansive in its structure and range, about growing older and the essential nature of love.”

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samrouthier
Jul 25, 2017

samrouthier thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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