A Novel

Book - 2017
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A struggling novelist travels the world to avoid an awkward wedding in this hilarious Pulitzer Prize-winning novel full of "arresting lyricism and beauty" ( The New York Times Book Review).

National Bestseller
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

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 could not love LESS more."--Ron Charles, The Washington Post

"Andrew Sean Greer's Less is excellent company. It's no less than bedazzling, bewitching and be-wonderful."- - Christopher Buckley , The New York Times Book Review

Publisher: New York : A Lee Boudreaux Book, Little, Brown and Company, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780316316125
Branch Call Number: GREER A
Characteristics: 263 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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From Library Staff

LPL_KimberlyL Jan 26, 2021

A breathtaking rumination on love and life and being Less. By the end of the book, I was crying tears of joy, having loved every minute of the journey I had taken to get there. An instant favorite!

LPL_SarahM Feb 17, 2019

MarveLESS! (I am so sorry.) This is the book that got me out of a months-long reading slump. I loved Greer's writing style and the tongue-in-cheekiness of Less. A book about a middle aged white guy and his problems who is told time and again that no one wants to hear about the problems of middle ... Read More »

LPL_IlkaI Dec 04, 2018

Arthur Less is a failed author on the cusp of a midlife crisis of sorts. After receiving a wedding invite from an ex-lover and experiencing a subsequent mental fallout, Mr. Less soon finds himself on a globetrotting journey of self-actualization. Less is a lovable, self effacing, and amusing read... Read More »

From the critics

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May 07, 2021

Loved loved loved

FVRL_Maple_Ridge Feb 05, 2021

This book from the FVRL collection was chosen to compliment the 2019/2020 season at the ACT arts centre. This book was featured on a list that complimented a breadth of materials to enhance your theatrical experiences.

LPL_KimberlyL Jan 26, 2021

A breathtaking rumination on love and life and being Less. By the end of the book, I was crying tears of joy, having loved every minute of the journey I had taken to get there. An instant favorite!

Jan 22, 2021

Funny and witty, Less by Andrew Sean Greer has been one of my favorite books ever since I read it! The book is a refreshing twist on relationships and self-discovery in the 21st century. I was able to resonate a lot with Arthur Less’s character as I feel that his personality was similar to mine. He is a very awkward, albeit kind and tenderhearted, person who is unlucky with love. This is a wonderful book about moving on from heartbreak and learning from past mistakes. I loved Arthur’s character development as the book progresses, and I also enjoyed reading about the different continents he traveled to. I felt like I was on this wild roller coaster with Arthur as he learns that traveling across the world won’t necessarily allow him to escape his problems, because the past will always come back to you. Overall, I definitely recommend this book to readers of all ages. Some things I didn’t like about the book was the slow pace of the book. It felt like there was a lot of filler and unnecessary events from the book that could have been excerpted or taken out. I found the book to be much longer than I would have liked, and it was somewhat boring at times. Other than that, I give this book 3.5 stars!

VaughanPLDaniela Jan 18, 2021

Unlikely hero Arthur Less is approaching a milestone birthday – his 50th – while grappling with the news of a former lover’s impending wedding. As both events near, single Less considers how not only is he a loser in love, but also a mediocre writer, popular in social circles only by his association to a world-famous poet. So instead of attending the wedding, Less decides to fill up his calendar with literary events around the world. Comedy after comedy ensues as Less reflects on former heartaches, failed opportunities, and eventually the potential of new beginnings. This novel will get you thinking about aging and the many layers of our identity. What does it mean to grow old in a culture that only values the beauty of youth? How do we define success in our lifetime? Join Arthur on his journey and find out!

Oct 15, 2020

At times heartbreaking and at other times hilarious. I was rooting for Arthur even when he didn't seem to be rooting for himself. Lovely commentary on the universality of love.

JCLBetM Sep 24, 2020

Not my normal choice of book, but something caught my attention and held on. Arthur Less is a bit of the bumbling hero - I regularly flipped from being annoyed with him, to feeling sorry for him, to hoping for him, to resonating with him. Sounds like a well crafted character, right? Some parts made me laugh out loud with their self deprecating wit and simple humorous astuteness of life.

VaughanPLGraeme Jul 31, 2020

This book is quite different from what I usually read, but I thought it was really fun and funny while still having some depth. From looking at other reviews here, it's obviously not for everyone, but I thought it was great.

Cas22 Jan 29, 2020

As previous reviews testify, this is not a book that will appeal to everyone. I, however, found it to be clever, poignant and funny. The narrative style, with its sudden switches in time, place, person and voice, can be rather disconcerting, but it still tells a powerful story of Arthur Less, a kind of gay “Everyman”, and all the little triumphs, failures, uncertainties, humiliations and absurdities of his life. A life which, at some essential level, mirrors that of our own.

Jan 04, 2020

After reading about 1/3 of the book I just couldn’t get into it so I quit reading...something I rarely do. The writing went on and on about inane things...ugh.

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Jul 25, 2017

samrouthier thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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