*Starred Review* While such luminaries as Michael Chabon, Dave Eggers, and John Irving have praised Greer's previous novels, including The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells (2013), Less is perhaps his finest yet. It follows Arthur Less, a novelist whose longtime boyfriend is getting married. In order to avoid the ceremony, Less accepts invitations to all the literary events he has been invited to. The subsequent tale moves across not only space—from San Francisco to New York, Mexico, Italy, Germany, France, India, and Japan—but also time, as Less looks back at his life as he approaches his fiftieth birthday. Once on the periphery of an artistic movement, the Russian River School, and involved with one of the founders, Less now exploits this connection to enable his journey.Through numerous flashbacks, Greer signals his debt to Proust (something he shares with Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad, 2010) and paints a comic yet moving picture of an American abroad. As Greer explores Less' lovelorn memories, he also playfully mocks the often ludicrous nature of the publishing industry, as does Percival Everett in his acerbic Erasure (2001). Less is a wondrous achievement, deserving an even larger audience than Greer's best-selling The Confessions of Max Tivoli (2004). Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
Library Journal Reviews
It's bad enough that midlist novelist Arthur Less is approaching his 50th birthday, but now his much younger ex-boyfriend is getting married. To avoid the wedding, Arthur accepts invitations, however dubious, from literary events worldwide. From the author of the admirable The Confessions of Max Tivoli and The Impossible Life of Greta Wells; with a 50,000-copy first printing.
Copyright 2017 Library Journal.
Library Journal Reviews
This hilarious and touching novel follows Arthur Less, a gay man, as he travels around the world in order to avoid attending the wedding of his former lover. The wedding invitation was the final realization for Arthur that he never should have broken up with Freddy, and as Arthur's 50th birthday approaches, he realizes he may be alone forever. Arthur is a novelist, and although his publisher turned down his latest work, he is engaged in literary activities such as receiving an award, speaking at a conference, and teaching writing in such locations as New York City, Mexico, and Germany. He also travels to Morocco and rides a camel out into the desert. All along the way, there are wacky scenes of wrong directions taken, comic misunderstandings, and language barriers left standing. VERDICT Greer (The Confessions of Max Tivoli; The Impossible Life of Greta Wells) is both clever and compassionate as he steers Arthur through this rough period in his life, and while the book focuses on gay men and their relationships, the search for love and meaning is universal. [See Prepub Alert, 1/28/17.]—James Coan, SUNY at Oneonta Lib.
Copyright 2017 Library Journal.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
In Greer's wistful new novel, a middle-aged writer accepts literary invitations around the world—making his way from San Francisco to New York, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Morocco, India, and Japan—so that he will have an excuse not to attend the wedding of a long-time lover. Arthur Less is not known primarily for his own work but for his lengthy romantic association with a Pulitzer Prize–winning author, an older man who was married to a woman when their liaison began, and he believes himself to be the butt of many cosmic jokes and that he is "less than" in most equations. This is partially proven true, but not entirely. And even in Less's mediocrity, when aided by a certain amount of serendipity (and displayed by the author with ironic humor), he affects people. Greer (The Confessions of Max Tivoli), an O'Henry-winning author, writes beautifully, but his occasionally Faulknerian sentences are unnecessary. He is entirely successful, though, in the authorial sleights of hand that make the narrator fade into the background—only to have an identity revealed at the end in a wonderful surprise. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (July)
Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.
Receiving an invitation to his ex-boyfriend's wedding, Arthur, a failed novelist on the eve of his 50th birthday, embarks on an international journey that finds him falling in love, risking his life, reinventing himself and making connections with the past. By the author of The Confessions of Max Tivoli. 50,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)
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. - (Baker & Taylor)
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).WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
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 AwardWho 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 - (Grand Central Pub)