Less

Less

by Andrew Sean Greer

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

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).

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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316316132
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 05/22/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 6,140
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Andrew Sean Greer is the bestselling author of five works of fiction, including The Confessions of Max Tivoli, which was named a best book of 2004 by the San Francisco Chronicle and the Chicago Tribune. He is the recipient of the Northern California Book Award, the California Book Award, the New York Public Library Young Lions Award, the O Henry award for short fiction and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Public Library. Greer lives in San Francisco. He has traveled to all of the locations in this novel, but he is only big in Italy.

Hometown:

San Francisco, California

Date of Birth:

November 21, 1970

Place of Birth:

Washington, D.C.

Education:

B.A. in English, Brown University, 1992; M.F.A . in Fiction, University of Montana, 1996

Customer Reviews

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Less: A Novel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting story,told in a complex,intelligent,magical way that miraculously made sense as the story developed. One of the best books I have read in a while.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great glimpse into how others see us. Starts a bit whiny, but at the end you cheering on Atlrthur and rooting for his every move.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good lesson for us all in life an keeping what matters most into perspective.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Clever, frantic and unexpected. You can't help falling for his characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I need to read this again, because the first time was like meeting some one whom I might want to know better before making a final decision. Could this person and I be friends?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept me engaged. Was funny and true and, in the end, satisfying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Life is like crossing a lessian, azure blue sea. At first the view of what you are leaving behind is comforting; it is all there, still within easy reach. Not yet missed, very far from being mistaken for something that should have offered more. But as the nautical miles pass, what you've always known and loved begins to shrink from view. That land across the sea, that next that once drew you on like a carrot on the end of a bow sprit, now begins to terrorize. I deeply loved what I knew, it was dependable in its ability to warm my blues, to love me back. (As always, more to come.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it very much. Beautifully written.
Davids3 More than 1 year ago
Less is a very thin and senseless book. No style and generally trite writing. If this is a Pulitzer winner, then the Manhattan phone book, with a bit of editing, has a good shot at the Nobel. Amazing what passes as good writing these days.
miss_mesmerized More than 1 year ago
Arthur and Freddy have spent so many years together, but now, Freddy is going to marry somebody else. This already would be enough, but Arthur’s situation is even worse: he is about to turn fifty, thus, officially old. How to avoid the dreadful wedding and his birthday? The solution is close at hand: he accepts several invitations bringing him first to New York, then Mexico, afterwards across the ocean to Italy, Germany and Morocco before returning home via India and Japan. However, leaving behind your everyday life does not mean that your worries also stay at home. They follow Less around the word as constant companions at his side. Andrew Sean Greer had been quite successful with his short stories before he started writing novels. His sixth, “Less”, was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer prize for Fiction, after he had already received the California Book Award and the O. Henry Award among others for his works. It is hard to find words to adequately describe the novel. I simply adored it every minute. First of all, there is this extraordinary protagonist Arthur Less who is, in his own view, so plain, ordinary, normal and uninteresting and yet seems to fascinate everybody he meets, makes them fall in love with him instantly and puts a kind of spell on them they cannot escape. The reader also falls for him at once – albeit I cannot explain why this is exactly the case. It is surely not because he is outstandingly good-looking or especially witty, he seems to have some kind of charisma that attracts people. Second, the narrator. He seems to be acquainted with Less, even though he merely hints at when and how they met and what their relationship is like. Often he recedes and just tells the story, but now and again, he talks to the reader, comments and readjusts the reader’s perspective. Even though a lot of disasters happen to Less on his journey and despite the fact that the two major loves of his life are lost, his life isn’t too bad. Watching Less stumble through his journey, his anxiety about aging – his is 49, not 50! – his being mainly known for having spent years at the side of a successful writer while his own work did only find small recognition – all his little flaws make him even more likeable. His modesty, his shyness – he is not less, but much more. A wonderfully written novel, full of love and compassion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it in one day. Less is wonderful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best book I have read all year!
eak321 More than 1 year ago
This is my first novel by Andrew Sean Greer, and I was a bit disappointed after all the hype and recommendations. I'm glad I read the book (and followed through with it to the end), but I expected so much more. LESS pulled out every gay stereotype and dumped them into one person: Arthur Less. He's tall, attractive, thin, a great dresser, an intellectualist, a writer, a world traveler, a partier...and not very good at monogamous relationships. The novel is told from the viewpoint of an unknown narrator who sounds like the narrator from a 1950s PSA or the narrator from the original Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon show, referring to Arthur Less as "our hero." Because it's told from the narrator's point of view, the novel is extremely descriptive with not a lot of (or enough) dialogue between the characters. Greer appears to be an impressive master of descriptive phrases, but it bogged down the pace of the novel for me. Ironically, the narrator rambles. I was hoping to be able to relate more to Arthur Less and his predicament of closing in on his 50th birthday and being invited to his ex-boyfriend's wedding, but there wasn't a lot to connect to. Arthur's world is very different from the typical gay man's. I did enjoy how Greer wrapped up the novel at the end, but I wish it didn't take so long to get there. I can see why this novel won the Pulitzer Prize. Like the Academy of Arts and Sciences who reward films about actors and acting with an Oscar, the Pulitzer gave the award to LESS because it's about an author and the things he does in the literary world to make appearances. It just seems to have limited appeal to the mainstream.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Arthur Less is a somewhat obscure novelist. He lives a lonely life in San Francisco. When Arthur receives a wedding invitation from the love of his life, he decides he needs a valid excuse not to attend the wedding. He decides on a whirlwind journey with stops in New York, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Morocco, India, and finally ending in Japan. The indignities and absurdities that Arthur suffers are the heart of this novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Found it somewhat superficial. Narcissism is overwhelming.
Sophia-Rose1 More than 1 year ago
A bit of a surprise all things considered. The hero is a man approaching fifty years with trepidation and approaching the wedding date of his lover of nine years to another with something more than trepidation. So, instead of sitting at home to face the prospect of both, off he goes to see the world through a chain of invitations he meant to decline, but now... the reader is off on a world-wide experience with Arthur Less. When I say this book was a surprise, I meant that it was so much more than a down-hearted gay guy, who thinks he's hit his expiration date, roaming around the world. It dips back to reflect on his colorful past, distant and near, that led him to where he’s at in the present. His present day experiences and his reconciliation with his past start working on him as he contemplates his future. Yes, it was very introspective, but it was wry with bittersweet musings. And let’s not forget the humor that only international travel mishaps can bring. And in the end, Less came into his own and I was happy to be there to see it because, for much of the book, Less never sees himself the way others around him and the reader sees him. He's lived a grand, full life, but it takes a shifting of his world for him to finally see it. Now, the surprises were not so welcome when I first started reading. It was not exactly what I thought I was getting so that took some adjusting. The writer's style was another huge adjustment- it meanders, and in my copy, the dips into the past and the present are not delineated. A jump in time or narration thought can be from paragraph to paragraph so a few times I got twisted around. There is an omniscient narrator voice that will pop in mid-stream, too (that was a fun twist that I figured out and was happy to discover I was right). Less is what I call 'travel' fiction though it doesn't delve too deeply into the big sweeping sections of travel. I thought the author wove this part in organically so the reader had a good vista of Less' travel stops, but it was alongside the adventure. In summary, this turned out to be a book that I felt cozy with as I was there alongside Less for all his travels and epiphanies. It is one I would recommend, particularly if you enjoy 'travel' fiction, but also enjoy the protagonist who is introspective.
Anonymous 10 days ago
Loved the book
Anonymous 13 days ago
Sappy protagonist, sappy ending. I was very disappointed.
HnLA 26 days ago
Not sure how this could win a major award. I suppose if you are an English major and get the references, the poor story can be overlooked. I am very familiar with the genre, but this book is rarely funny nor insightful. The protagonist, who is at times is presented as fun, always finds the small flaw in life, but not in a funny, charming way either. I kept having to revise my minds eye of who Less is, which I cannot remember happening with other books. The portrait of Less is inconsistent. I kept having to force myself to keep reading, I almost did not read the last 6 pages. I can only think that since it was about a writer and going to writer conferences/awards, the people that decide on prizes related. I do not do that, so I thought it was a boring, waste of time. If you are looking for a funny, slightly bitchy, slightly bitter but insightful novel, check somewhere else.
Anonymous 5 months ago
An innocent abroad and turning 50. What a lovely man and a charming novel.
Anonymous 5 months ago
This is the rare book that is both funny as well as tender, even lyrical.
Anonymous 8 months ago
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WonderWmn 9 months ago
I hadn't heard of this book until members of a book club I recently joined started talking about it. They had read it previously for the group. There were mixed reviews and I decided to read it myself. The book is primarily Arthur Less going through the struggles of a previous boyfriend getting married. What he does to keep his feelings at bay. There are numerous comedic situations he finds himself in, some of them are universal in the fact that I think we've all been there a time or two. He is one lucky guy for all the traveling he gets to do, even though by the end we'd all throw in the towel. This is a book about love, loss, the grieving we put ourselves through, however we do it and an outcome. Did I feel it was an amazing read, no. Did I consider moving on to another book at any point, a few. Am I glad that I kept reading, probably. That point I haven't decided for sure on. There were several interesting characters. The author put a lot of effort in the development of them and he pretty much nailed it. The flashbacks really rounded out the story and was a great way to put it all together instead of chronologically. I look forward to reading the authors other works and will always wonder if any of this book consists of his own life experiences.
Anonymous 9 months ago
+
jamjam More than 1 year ago