Thank you to the lovely people at Little Brown for my copy of Less by Andrew Sean Greer. All thoughts and images are my own.
Author: Andrew Sean Greer
Pub date: July 18, 2017
Read if you like: The 100-year-old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.
This book was a surprise hit for me. I know that’s a crazy thing to say, given that this was the winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, but it truly was not on my radar before the award was announced. Even at that point, I actually picked up this novel because my roommate spoke so highly of it. I hope you require less convincing: this is an incredible book and you should pick it up immediately.
First of all, it is a way more whimsical tale than I expected. You could say it is nothing more than a series of adventures (or misadventures, depending on your perspective). I absolutely laughed out loud multiple times, whether it was at the actual events or at Less’ perception of what was occuring.
Secondly, Greer’s writing will sweep you away and ground you at the same time. He has a beautiful knack for bringing out moments that you have undoubtedly experienced. No matter what far away land or distant context Less may be in, his experiences are completely relatable. I found myself constantly reaching for any writing implement to underline passages I knew I’d want to come back to. One of my favorites: “…the time when any couple has found its balance, and passion has quieted from its early scream, but gratitude is still abundant; what no one realizes are the golden years.”
Finally, it is an original and unexpected love story in the best of ways. It is heartwarming and heart-clenching (I’m not sure if that’s a term, but you know that feeling I’m talking about) all at once. It is a slow burn into the story, but once I was swept away I could not put it down. And you know I cried at the end.
Please read this novel
SYNOPSIS: (AS TOLD BY THE BACK OF THE BOOK)
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 invitations to half-baked literary events around the world.
Question: How do you arrange to skip town?
Answer: You accept them all.
What could possibly go wrong?
Thus begins an around-the-world-in-eighty-days fantasia that will take the novelist Arthur Less to Mexico, Italy, Germany, Morocco, India, and Japan and put thousands of miles between him and the plight he refuses to face.
Welcome to the bestseller embraced by readers everywhere: a love story, a satire of the American abroad, a rumination on time and the human heart. Less shows a writer at the peak of his talents raising the curtain on our shared human comedy.