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Less (2017)

by Andrew Sean Greer

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2,8031744,072 (3.68)180
Receiving an invitation to his ex-boyfriend's wedding, Arthur, a failed novelist on the eve of his fiftieth birthday, embarks on an international journey that finds him falling in love, risking his life, reinventing himself, and making connections with the past.
  1. 21
    A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne (hairball)
    hairball: I read these a few weeks—maybe a month—apart. This is the really obvious pairing.

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Showing 1-5 of 170 (next | show all)
I got a bit lost with this novel. Arthur Less, a writer, is approaching his 50th birthday and when he hears a former lover is getting married he decides to run away and puts together a world tour of literary events so that he can't attend the wedding. After a few countries, I was getting somewhat tired of the airport ritual, although there were plenty of amusing moments when Arthur Less misunderstood or observed something amusing. The reader hears flash backs to his younger days and clearly this is a journey of self-discovery, although the direction isn't evident. Arthur Less works on his latest novel that his publisher has rejected in India and makes progress but it seems that isn't the big story. The insights into a writer's life are interesting and Arthur Less' better understanding of himself, after travelling alone, make sense but it didn't come together for me. ( )
  CarolKub | Jun 27, 2022 |
This book was so good it broke my heart. ( )
  SwatiRavi | Jun 27, 2022 |
What do you do when you're about to turn fifty and your partner of nine years decides to marry someone else? For author Arthur Less, the answer is simple: run away. Less does just that by accepting invitations to literary events, writers' retreats, and even a teaching position, all around the world while trying come to terms with where his life stumbled as well as to avoid those situations.

At first, the writing style took a moment to get into, with an unknown narrator discussing Less and even how they know each other. It makes for an unreliable narrator, somehow knowing every small detail and yet remaining a character in their own right--but in a good way by the time I reached the end of the novel. Also, I think this is one of the few times where I connected with a character. I understood his reasons for wanting to avoid difficult relationships and their effects--I think most of us can; I've thought many times of just picking up and running away. And Less' thought process, how he constantly questions why things happened a certain way, struck a chord with me.

I found this to be an unexpectedly interesting book and hope others do as well. ( )
  ocgreg34 | Jun 20, 2022 |
Rambling, tedious, and deeply unsatisfying.

From casual observation: most people, who enjoyed this book, seem to have written almost philosophical reviews. I wonder why. ( )
  QuirkyCat_13 | Jun 20, 2022 |
A little slow at the beginning, but when Arthur begins his travels around the world it really grabs your attention. Poor Arthur is limping through life and boyfriends, just ping-ponging around. To forget his 50th birthday and the upcoming wedding of a recent ex to another man, he decides to plan a multiple month trip around the world with stops in New York, Mexico City, Germany, Paris, Morocco, India, and Japan. Hijinks ensue as does a reunion with the recently married Freddy. ( )
  mojomomma | Jun 18, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 170 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Andrew Sean Greerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Carré, LilliIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Espinosa, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ford, SeanDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, JuliannaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Petkoff, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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From where I sit, the story of Arthur Less is not so bad.
By his forties, all he has managed to grow is a gentle sense of himself, akin to the transparent carapace of a soft-shelled crab.
Freddy put on his red glasses, and in each aquarium a little blue fish swam.
From the open window came the song of roofers hammering and the smell of molten tar.
Arthur Less, encircling the globe! It feels cosmonautical in nature.
It is a bad musical, but, like a bad lay, a bad musical can do its job perfectly well. By the end, Arthur Less is in tears, sobbing in his seat, and he thinks he has been sobbing quietly until the lights come up and the woman seated beside him turns and says, "Honey, I don't know what happened in your life, but I am so so sorry," and gives him a lilac-scented embrace. Nothing happened to me, he wants to say to her. Nothing happened to me. I'm just a homosexual at a Broadway show.
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Receiving an invitation to his ex-boyfriend's wedding, Arthur, a failed novelist on the eve of his fiftieth birthday, embarks on an international journey that finds him falling in love, risking his life, reinventing himself, and making connections with the past.

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Book description
Less is a satirical comedy novel by American author Andrew Sean Greer first published in 2017. It follows gay writer Arthur Less while he travels the world on a literary tour, as his fiftieth birthday looms.

The book covers themes such as romantic love, same-sex relationships, aging, and travel. Greer began writing Less as a "very serious novel" but found that "the only way to write about [being gay and aging] is to make it a funny story. And I found that by making fun of myself, I could actually get closer to real emotion – closer to what I wanted in my more serious books."[3]

Less won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.[4] In reporting the award, the Associated Press accidentally wrote the novel's title as "Fearless."[3] The book also was a New York Times best seller, won the Northern California Book Award, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction.[5]
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Average: (3.68)
0.5 6
1 21
1.5 7
2 51
2.5 14
3 166
3.5 81
4 267
4.5 43
5 149

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