Less
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.

Less Details

TitleLess
Author
Formatebook
ReleaseJul 18th, 2017
PublisherLee Boudreaux Books
ISBN0316465186
ISBN-139780316465182
Number of pages272 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Glbt, Contemporary, Adult, Adult Fiction, Travel, Romance, Humor, Gay, Audiobook

Less Review

  • Maggie Stiefvater
    July 21, 2017
    What a soft-hearted bastard of a novel.It's the story of a failed — failing — novelist about to turn fifty. His long-time lover is marrying someone else, and he's been invited to the wedding. To avoid the whispers and rumors that would abound, he takes the only course of action he can imagine: accepting every literary invitation he's been putting off, a journey that will take him around the globe and well away from the wedding of the man he loved. Loves. It had me from the first page, and I'm no What a soft-hearted bastard of a novel.It's the story of a failed — failing — novelist about to turn fifty. His long-time lover is marrying someone else, and he's been invited to the wedding. To avoid the whispers and rumors that would abound, he takes the only course of action he can imagine: accepting every literary invitation he's been putting off, a journey that will take him around the globe and well away from the wedding of the man he loved. Loves. It had me from the first page, and I'm not even precisely sure why. The prose is wonderful, to be sure. Playful, rollicking, sly, observant. The main character, the anxious and vain Arthur Less, is boyish and gentle and smart and I adore him. The narrator (whose identity I guessed with increasing hope and anticipation as the pages went on) guides us skillfully through present events and past ones, uncovering the parts of Less that need to become More in order to find happiness. The settings —San Francisco, New York, France, India, Japan — are wondrously and precisely evoked. Side characters caper in with delicious specificity and purpose, both thematic and human. Is one of those aspects what I loved? Is all of them what I loved?I actually think I loved it because of what it believes. There's a line in the book — I had to fetch it to quote it exactly — that I think is what the book says on every page:"Just for the record: happiness is not bullshit."That belief in happiness and love is what makes this novel a comfort read. Every character is desperately flawed and every setting has a rainy day and every relationship is complicated, but its over-arching naive and wavering pursuit of happiness is what made this book feel like something I wanted to curl up in for a long time.I'll be rereading this one many times.
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  • Larry H
    July 20, 2017
    It's been said (in a catty way, of course) that after age 42 gay men become invisible, that no one wants an older gay man except, if they're lucky, another gay man. Andrew Sean Greer's beautifully moving but slightly uneven new novel, Less , deals with a man coming to terms approaching his 50th birthday, wondering if he'll ever find true love, and trying to define himself and his career. No small feat, there!When he was in his early 20s, he was the boyfriend of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rober It's been said (in a catty way, of course) that after age 42 gay men become invisible, that no one wants an older gay man except, if they're lucky, another gay man. Andrew Sean Greer's beautifully moving but slightly uneven new novel, Less , deals with a man coming to terms approaching his 50th birthday, wondering if he'll ever find true love, and trying to define himself and his career. No small feat, there!When he was in his early 20s, he was the boyfriend of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Brownburn, who was a member of the famed Russian River School of writers and artists. Even though the relationship ended after a few years, Arthur has always been defined somewhat as the former boyfriend of Robert Brownburn, even as he experienced a slight bit of renown in his own literary career. Robert will always be Arthur's first love, even though Arthur knows he frittered away the relationship as many much-younger gay men would.As Arthur's 50th birthday approaches, he is in the midst of a crisis. His former boyfriend of nine years (this time he picked someone younger) is getting married to someone else, and Arthur has been invited to the wedding. His publisher isn't interested at all in his newest novel. And he wonders if he'll spend the rest of his life alone, unloved and unsuccessful. So he does what any self-effacing person would do: he flees the country.But he's not running away. (Well, yes, he is.) He's pursuing a number of different literary opportunities across the globe, which will end with some time at a writer's retreat in India, where perhaps he will be able to fix what ails his novel. Along the way he travels to Mexico, Italy, Germany, France, and Morocco, plumbing the depths of his soul, looking back at the memories of relationships gone sour, and trying to figure out where he goes from here, and whether he's made the biggest mistakes of his life by simply deciding not to decide things, not to say things, not to do things.How does a man who always seems to intrigue, always seems to provoke feelings in others, figure out his self-worth, and find the courage to act instead of waiting for things to happen to him? There are lessons to be learned in mistakes and failures, but does he want to learn those lessons? What awaits him on the other side of 50? Less is an emotional, somewhat elegiacal meditation on aging, love, and one's professional and romantic legacy. It is at times poignant, at times funny, even a little ridiculous occasionally, but tremendously thought-provoking. Greer brings so much poetry and beauty to his sentences, and even if his main character is a somewhat elusive enigma, at least to the reader, his lamentations and his journey are utterly fascinating.I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I felt as if so much of this story was so interesting, so moving, that I was a little irritated when the narrative veered into almost farcical and/or metaphysical territory a few times. In a sense you know how the story may ultimately unfold, but Greer makes you wait a really long time for the payoff, and there were a few moments I just wanted Arthur to stop moping, stop walking around with his head in the sand, and speak, or act, the way he knows he should.I have been a huge fan of Greer's since reading his first story collection, How It Was for Me . While it took me a while to get into what is perhaps his most famous book, The Confessions of Max Tivoli , I absolutely loved his other books, The Path of Minor Planets, The Story of a Marriage , and The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells . He is an absolutely beautiful storyteller, and even though this book has some flaws, reading Greer's writing is like eating a fine meal or watching a beautiful movie or play—you just don't want it to end, you want to savor every minute.NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available! See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo....
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  • Ron Charles
    July 13, 2017
    In the opening pages, a midlist novelist named Arthur Less is clinging to 49 like it’s the lip of a volcano. He has waited with muted expectation through “his exclusion from any list of best writers under thirty, under forty, under fifty — they make no lists above that.” And now he’s pretty sure he’s “the first homosexual ever to grow old.”That gently mocking tone reflects Less’s attitude about all his foibles, which are obvious to him but incurable. His anxiety about aging has been exacerbated In the opening pages, a midlist novelist named Arthur Less is clinging to 49 like it’s the lip of a volcano. He has waited with muted expectation through “his exclusion from any list of best writers under thirty, under forty, under fifty — they make no lists above that.” And now he’s pretty sure he’s “the first homosexual ever to grow old.”That gently mocking tone reflects Less’s attitude about all his foibles, which are obvious to him but incurable. His anxiety about aging has been exacerbated by splitting up with his boyfriend who’s about to get married to a younger man. Confronted with the prospect of sitting through their wedding wearing a grin of faux happiness, Less decides to send his regrets and flee. “In free fall from the broken bridge of his last hopes,” he paws through his old mail and blindly accepts all the sundry invitations he’s received from around the world: a hodgepodge of teaching assignments, retreats and readings.Those gigs provide the novel’s structure — a different country for each chapter — which is a challenge for Less, but a boon for his creator. (An excerpt of “Less” recently appeared in the New Yorker.) Greer is brilliantly funny about the awkwardness that awaits a traveling writer of less repute. At a science fiction convention, he’s. . . . To read more, go to The Washington Post:https://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...
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  • Wendy Cosin
    July 12, 2017
    Less is a very enjoyable novel about a white gay man from San Francisco turning 50. I used to live on Saturn Street, which is mentioned, so how could I not like it, even though he lived on Vulcan Street. Arthur Less is a writer who travels around the world to avoid going to his lover's wedding. The novel is about aging, being a writer, relationships and affairs, but mostly it is just funny. Even laugh out loud moments. I received a free copy of Less prior to publication, which is supposed to occ Less is a very enjoyable novel about a white gay man from San Francisco turning 50. I used to live on Saturn Street, which is mentioned, so how could I not like it, even though he lived on Vulcan Street. Arthur Less is a writer who travels around the world to avoid going to his lover's wedding. The novel is about aging, being a writer, relationships and affairs, but mostly it is just funny. Even laugh out loud moments. I received a free copy of Less prior to publication, which is supposed to occur on July 18.
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  • Sandra
    July 24, 2017
    DNF, no rating. The book has great reviews, but it wasn't a book for me.
  • David
    July 14, 2017
    Good book
  • Sara
    January 16, 2017
    I read this book in sprints and spurts, some of them at night in bed before falling asleep, chuckling to myself at Arthur Less's anxious antics. I had two lengthy read-a-thons with Less and they made me love the book even more. The first was at my little suburbia-in-the-city aka the Panera at Geary and Masonic. I had to get stuff at Target, but there were too many people, so I went to Panera and claimed a booth and read for three hours in that innocuous, streamlined suburban paradise. Or whateve I read this book in sprints and spurts, some of them at night in bed before falling asleep, chuckling to myself at Arthur Less's anxious antics. I had two lengthy read-a-thons with Less and they made me love the book even more. The first was at my little suburbia-in-the-city aka the Panera at Geary and Masonic. I had to get stuff at Target, but there were too many people, so I went to Panera and claimed a booth and read for three hours in that innocuous, streamlined suburban paradise. Or whatever. Their tomato soup bread bowls are amazing, ok? And it was kind of great to read about Less's adventures in Italy in such a familiar atmosphere. And the second read-a-thon was in my room while I played piano classical music on my headphones to drown out the noise of my roommate having sex. Typical SF -- ya know, if you're a millenial without a poet lover who has a little shack on the Vulcan St stairs like Arthur Less. I don't know how to tell you to read this book, but you should. I've been trying to avoid white male authors for awhile, but I saw Andrew Sean Greer's three names and somehow knew it was a gay book (that's a gay thing, right? The three names?). But it's a gay book everyone can read (but why wouldn't you read a book just because the protag is gay? Just read what I tell you to read).Greer brings up a great point about assimilation vs. being yourself. We can't all be the poster children for the gayest people ever. I'm not gonna get an undercut so I can present more queer because I don't like the undercut (it'd be different if I liked it, doy). But it is something white queer cis people/men have more flexibility with since they're the first queers (and possibly only) to be mainstreamed. But I like how Greer plays with this idea and he's right that we have to be ourselves first, if we're allowed to be. And the idea that this book isn't being super marketed to the gays is kind of the point too. The back cover is a little vague and most of the book feels universal emotionally.Okay, so that was a little tangential, sorry (not sorry). But basically, you will like Less if you've ever been in love or experienced anxiety or been an awkward human or if you've travelled the world and weird things happened to you or if you have experienced those hard-to-define human emotions that make us keep going despite the anxieties and loves lost and memories, etc. etc. Greer is so good at creating feelings from just a few sentences. We'll be looking back at Arthur Less's first relationship, with the poet Robert, and it's not all that sad, but it's poignant and not unlike that first breath of cold air outside on a winter day, so then you're in tears and you can't even. (This is obviously the universal 'you' and not 'me,' doy). But okay, you don't really like crying at beautifully crafted sentences filled with weird emotions and shit like that. You're a stony SOB who prefers to cry at Hallmark commercials or something. idk. But you're in luck because not only is Greer a master at making one cry, but also at making one laugh. Less is a fool who gets himself into so many awkward situations and makes you feel so much better about your own awkward life (again, the universal 'you'), but he's so good at doing the funny, the outrageous, and even sometimes, the witty. So read it for the laughs, obviously.Yeah. So if you like feels of all kinds (crying, laughing, sneezing), you will love this book. I wish it was already out so you could all read it now and we could talk about it. I have to write this review and keep my notes so that when you all actually read it in July, we can have a book club and talk about it. Also, Andrew Sean Greer is on the bathroom wall at work (twice)!!! I just realized this a few days ago and it warmed the little cockles of my heart.
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  • Dan Radovich
    October 3, 2016
    I read an advance copy of LESS, not the ebook. This new novel from Andrew Sean Greer does not come out until July 2017. Sunday weather was chilly and rainy - perfect to curl up on the sofa and read LESS from start to finish. I adore this book. I have not read a recent novel that rings so true about the wonders of love and life. Arthur's journey is told with Greer's wonderful prose and as a reader you cannot help but feel his joys and heartaches; thanks to Andrew's storytelling talents. Each chap I read an advance copy of LESS, not the ebook. This new novel from Andrew Sean Greer does not come out until July 2017. Sunday weather was chilly and rainy - perfect to curl up on the sofa and read LESS from start to finish. I adore this book. I have not read a recent novel that rings so true about the wonders of love and life. Arthur's journey is told with Greer's wonderful prose and as a reader you cannot help but feel his joys and heartaches; thanks to Andrew's storytelling talents. Each chapter along Arthur's Avoidance Trip around the world made me more aware of the importance of living the moment, and by Kyoto I was longing to see Arthur accept his life as it has been. (I figured out the eventful ending well before Arthur has taken his third international flight, but I am not disappointed in how Greer handles it). The wit and humor inside this book is glorious. LESS is peopled with characters that are not just cookie-cutter stereotypes, nearly everyone gets a moment to shine. Those that fit into a certain mold do so because of the era they come from, and it works for the story. Greer has examined love in many different aspects in his works - all marvelous stories worth reading, but LESS is indeed more.
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  • Amber Brown
    May 24, 2017
    Novelist Arthur Less, on the brink of turning 50, runs away from an ex's wedding on a world tour. The voice is charming, the characters are hilarious and delightful, and you cheer for Less through this entire anxiety-ridden trek across the globe to find himself and what will make him truly happy. A little slow in that "literary" way.
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  • Karen Parisot
    July 18, 2017
    Milestone birthdays are hard, but turning fifty for Arthur Less is especially difficult. So what does he do? He plans a multi-nation journey, not to celebrate, but to escape. His former lover is getting married, and he’s trying to run away from the heartbreak of it all. Less is a good-looking, charming fellow, but he’s a real mess. This is a beautifully rendered, gorgeous love story. The author, Andrew Sean Greer, is a very talented writer. His prose is smart and elegant. I was most impressed wi Milestone birthdays are hard, but turning fifty for Arthur Less is especially difficult. So what does he do? He plans a multi-nation journey, not to celebrate, but to escape. His former lover is getting married, and he’s trying to run away from the heartbreak of it all. Less is a good-looking, charming fellow, but he’s a real mess. This is a beautifully rendered, gorgeous love story. The author, Andrew Sean Greer, is a very talented writer. His prose is smart and elegant. I was most impressed with his metaphors. They really are splendid. For most of the book, the narrator’s identity is unknown. I had my suspicions, and they were confirmed on the last few pages. An excellent read, I even thought it was ingenious the way he used the main character’s name in a clever play-on-words.
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  • Elissa
    March 11, 2017
    I can't remember the last time a novel made me laugh out loud this many times while also consistently giving me so many feelings. The premise itself is so good: Arthur Less takes a comical/tragic journey around the world to avoid having to attend his ex-lover Freddy's wedding. It's a love story at its heart, but it's also a hilarious and moving book about friendship, the meaning of success, the peculiar anxiety of being a writer, and the humiliation and exhilaration of traveling to new places on I can't remember the last time a novel made me laugh out loud this many times while also consistently giving me so many feelings. The premise itself is so good: Arthur Less takes a comical/tragic journey around the world to avoid having to attend his ex-lover Freddy's wedding. It's a love story at its heart, but it's also a hilarious and moving book about friendship, the meaning of success, the peculiar anxiety of being a writer, and the humiliation and exhilaration of traveling to new places on your own. Loved this book.
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  • Kurestin
    February 25, 2017
    I can only pass on the recommendation that was given to me with absolute agreement: While the concept seemed not up my alley (aging writer just out of a breakup has mishaps touring the world?), the voice and the writing and the characters were all incredibly charming, at times funny, and just the right amount of tender hearted.
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  • Leah
    March 20, 2017
    I loved LESS and his blues. This novel is a meditation on love, life, and being a writer. it's poetic, romantic, honest and funny. He is truly one of my favorite contemporary writers.
  • Lorri Steinbacher
    June 6, 2017
    (Read in prepub. Book due out July 18, 2017)Put this on your must read. I read this on vacation a week after turning fifty so I was ripe for Arthur Less' experiences, but on every page there is something to love. This is a book about the pull of nostalgia, of looking back, because the thought of moving forward is too painful or scary. This is a book about love and what makes a love affair, a marriage, a friendship a success (longevity? intensity?). It is a book about looking at who you are and d (Read in prepub. Book due out July 18, 2017)Put this on your must read. I read this on vacation a week after turning fifty so I was ripe for Arthur Less' experiences, but on every page there is something to love. This is a book about the pull of nostalgia, of looking back, because the thought of moving forward is too painful or scary. This is a book about love and what makes a love affair, a marriage, a friendship a success (longevity? intensity?). It is a book about looking at who you are and deciding if you like who that person is and if you don't do you have it in you to become your best self? And it's a book where you make fictional friend and wish desperately for him to figure it out.I loved Arthur from page one and soaked a sleeve of my sweatshirt with tears of sadness and frustration and joy and beauty. I also laughed. Which is how life goes, both tragedy and comedy, and hopefully we all end up like Arthur, (view spoiler)[with just enough of both (hide spoiler)].
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  • Frank Diprimo
    July 18, 2017
    Arthur Less is a writer who gets an invitation to he ex-lover's ( Freddie) wedding and doesn't want to go because Freddie is marrying Tom, the person Arthur was set with at a friend's party - but Arthur fell for the friend's much younger son, Freddie ---- so it would be awkward for Arthur, but yet, if Arthur doesn't go he knows they will talk about him when he is not there. So arthur accepts invitations related to hi s last couple of books he had filed away, so he has an excuse to mot be there, Arthur Less is a writer who gets an invitation to he ex-lover's ( Freddie) wedding and doesn't want to go because Freddie is marrying Tom, the person Arthur was set with at a friend's party - but Arthur fell for the friend's much younger son, Freddie ---- so it would be awkward for Arthur, but yet, if Arthur doesn't go he knows they will talk about him when he is not there. So arthur accepts invitations related to hi s last couple of books he had filed away, so he has an excuse to mot be there, and sets a trip around the world ( Mexico, Italy,India, Morroco, and Japan) for speaking engagements, award ceremonies, etc. An Amercican abroad , each chapter makes a comment on life, love/ and or lossGood read, but sometimes confusing in flashbacks written as current time
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  • Carrie Dudewicz
    July 21, 2017
    I made it a point to pick up LESS on Tuesday, its pub date, because of the excerpt of it in the New Yorker a few months back. This book was fantastic. So funny and witty, so full of creative language and wordplay, and so fun to follow our hero as he traveled the world. By the end, I was feeling warm and tingly all over and smiling giddily. Trust me, and trust our clever yet mysterious narrator as he leads you through the story of Arthur Less.
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  • Tal179
    July 22, 2017
    Greer is one of my favorite authors - when I saw he published a new book I immediately put it on my list. Less was incredibly well written, entertaining, and insightful. Quick and enjoyable read.
  • Marney Hawes
    July 24, 2017
    I enjoyed following poor hapless Arthur on his journey of discovery.
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