Approaching fifty can be very stressful (and I’m sure it definitely is) especially if you’re not married, don’t have children or are not accomplished in any way. Andrew Sean Greer introduces us to a new character and shows us the struggle and the comedy in nearing fifty and trying to come to terms with getting older and getting the most out of life.
What is so special about Arthur Less? He’s approaching the big five-oh, he’s a writer and he’s single but what lies beneath all of that is a man of many fears. Out of the blue an invitation to his ex-boyfriends wedding appears and makes Arthur Less question everything he’s ever known about himself. What does our hero Arthur Less decide to do? Why yes, accept every literary event invitation he has been putting off and go on a trip across the world, of course! Arthur Less will visit Paris, Berlin, go to Morocco, he’ll go to a writer’s retreat in Southern India and at last to a desert island in the Arabian Sea. On these trips Arthur will meet many people and go through many challenges and all of them will make him realize and question things about himself in a new way.
Being a twenty-year-old adolescent I cannot tell you if this book dealt with the aging theme in a spot on way but I can guess that it paints a pretty good picture of what it’s like to be a fifty-year-old gay man whose identity is coming to question because he’s getting older. Greer makes our main character very introspective which is exactly what gives Less a voice and makes him a real character. Our narrator in this novel is unknown but about halfway through the book you begin to get a feel of who the narrator might be which I personally enjoyed finding out. Arthur Less is such a great character who throughout the book I couldn’t stop following and caring for – which is proof that Greer is skilled at writing a complex character.
‘Not that I saw all that then, when he blushed and his eyes went down. I knew nothing of anxiety or other pointless human suffering. I only knew I had said the wrong thing.’
I have to note that this novel might not be for everyone because I have seen a few DNFs of this book based on it being too ‘slow’ and not too comical like the blurb says. My experience with it was very different even though I didn’t like the narration in the beginning of it after about 25% I got used to it and read on. I have to agree that it isn’t a ‘laugh-out -loud’ book but it has its moments!
I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher (Little Brown US) for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Some of you know the book ‘A Little Life‘ by Hanya Yanagihara and that it has its Instagram account so the person (Leonor) who started it with Hanya has made one for ‘Less‘ by Andrew Sean Greer so make sure to follow their account for lots of amazing photographs.
**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.
Andrew Sean Greer (born 1970) is an American novelist and short story writer.
He is the bestselling author of The Story of a Marriage, which The New York Times has called an “inspired, lyrical novel,” and The Confessions of Max Tivoli, which was named one of the best books of 2004 by the San Francisco Chronicle and received a California Book Award.
The child of two scientists, Greer studied writing with Robert Coover and Edmund White at Brown University, where he was the commencement speaker at his own graduation, where his unrehearsed remarks, critiquing Brown’s admissions policies, caused a semi-riot….more.