Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Publication Date: July 18, 2017
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 had actually forgotten that I put a hold on Less until I got the email that, a good three months later, it was finally ready for me. My TBR was honestly already derailed enough, but August’s Monthly Motif was “award winners” and this won the Pulitzer, so I guess it worked out in the end. It was also an audiobook, which is a little easier to sneak in than an actual physical book.
I don’t really have any strong feelings about this one. The writing is good, I can say that. The book can be funny, it can be sad, it can be emotional. But it’s hard to feel very bad for a man with the resources to literally travel the world for the sole purpose of avoiding his ex’s wedding. I know it wouldn’t have been as good of a story, but couldn’t he have just… I don’t know… declined the invitation? I mean, I hate conflict and confrontation more than the average person, but I don’t think that I would fly to Morocco to avoid my one and only ex. (Although, admittedly, he didn’t invite me to his wedding, so maybe I would have.)
In the end, I was entertained by Less, but I wasn’t blown away.
#mm18: award winners
Have you read Less? Do you usually read Pulitzer winners?
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