I really can't sum it up better than Ann Patchett: "I recommend it with my whole heart." Arthur Less is the most endearing character I've read in ages. Less somehow manages to be poignant, sweet, smart, and sharp, while also causing me to snort-laugh multiple times. The novel feels lighthearted and fun on the surface, but I found myself thinking about the themes and deeper meanings for a long time after I was finished. Recommended By Lesley A., Powells.com
Arthur Less, a mid-list author with his best work behind him, stares down the barrel of his upcoming 50th birthday and feels forlorn. A trip around the world does nothing to elevate his spirits, and his life seems a long trial of loss and irritations. As he meanders through his exotic locales, Arthur ponders the meaning of his life, his work, his relationships, and his self. Arthur has known true love — deeply — and feels it's absence now; is there another chance for him to experience love? Greer's charming, yet melancholy, story is a tale of modern life, and how sublime it is despite all its complications. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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
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.
"Greer's novel is philosophical, poignant, funny and wise, filled with unexpected turns....Although Greer is gifted and subtle in comic moments, he's just as adept at ruminating on the deeper stuff. His protagonist grapples with aging, loneliness, creativity, grief, self-pity and more." San Francisco Chronicle
"Less is perhaps Greer's finest yet....A comic yet moving picture of an American abroad....Less is a wondrous achievement, deserving an even larger audience than Greer's bestselling The Confessions of Max Tivoli." Booklist, starred review
"I recommend it with my whole heart." Ann Patchett
"Treat yourself to this book. I missed subway stops. I doubled over in laughter. I experienced more pure reading pleasure than I had in ages. It is hilarious, and wise, and abundantly fun." Adam Haslett, author of Imagine Me Gone
"I adore this book. It's funny, piquant, bittersweet and so achingly observant about the vanity of writers that it made me squirm in recognition. I'll probably read it again very soon." Armistead Maupin, author of Tales of the City
"Marvelously, unexpectedly, endearingly funny. A love story focused on the erroneous belief that the second half of life will pale in comparison to the first. Guess what? It won't!" Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad Love Story
"The most deftly funny romantic comedy I've read in years. If you have a sentimental bone in your body (I have 206), the ending will make you sob little tears of joy." Nell Zink, author of Mislaid and Nicotine
"A fast and rocketing read with everything I want from a story — moments of high humor, moments of genuine wisdom, sharp insights and gorgeous images. A wonderful, wonderful book!" Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
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.