Book Review – Less

Andrew Sean Greer – Less

Less is a satirical comedy novel by American author Andrew Sean Greer first published in 2017. It follows writer Arthur Less while he travels the world on a literary tour to numb his loss of the man he loves.

It won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Arthur Less is a 49-year-old gay writer of middling success from San Francisco, known primarily for having once been in a relationship with an older man, Robert Brownburn, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. He first experienced moderate success with his debut novel, but in the decades since has struggled to garner the same success. His most recent novel, Swift, has recently been rejected by his publisher. Arthur, who is dreading his 50th birthday, is suddenly invited to the wedding of his ex-lover, Freddy Pelu. In attempt to avoid the wedding, Arthur goes on an extensive overseas trip after accepting invitations to the numerous literary engagements which he typically declines.

He first travels to New York City to interview writer H.H.H. Mandern, and then to Mexico City for a conference about Robert. In Turin, Arthur attends an award ceremony where, to his surprise, he wins. He later accepts a teaching offer for a creative writing seminar in Berlin. After a layover in Paris where he meets an old friend, Arthur travels to Morocco to celebrate his 50th birthday in the Sahara. He eventually arrives in India, where he accepts a writer-in-residence at a Christian retreat community in Kerala. Finally, he travels to Japan to write as a food critic. After hearing that Robert has suffered a stroke, Arthur returns home to San Francisco where he finds Freddy there waiting for him.