Paperback, 273 Pages
Contemporary/ LGBT/ Humor
By: Andrew Sean Greer
“He kisses—how do I explain it? Like someone in love. Like he has nothing to lose. Like someone who has just learned a foreign language and can use only the present tense and only the second person. Only now, only you. There are some men who have never been kissed like that. There are some men who discover, after Arthur Less, that they never will be again.
Less is a story that I enjoyed less than I expected probably to the high expectations I had. I mean the book is a Pulitzer prize winner and I know that that is such a huge thing.
The story follows Arthur Less, whose Ex is going to marry and he now wants to go on a world tour for his book so that he finds more excuses not to attend the wedding. It is as simple as that. The chapters are divided according to his adventure in each country and are named according to that too (Less Italy, Less Morocco… etc).
I had very mixed feelings about the writing which is simple sometimes and magniloquent other times (That’s a word the author uses in the book). Some of the quotes were excellent, really Pulitzer-worthy and some of them are weird and flowery. I think I stand somewhere in the middle when it comes to the writing overall.
“How can so many things become a bore by middle age — philosophy, radicalism, and other fast foods — but heartbreak keeps its sting?”
The plot was kind all over the place unfortunately, I have read a few LGBT YA novels lately and was disappointed by most and this is better than them to be fair, it is also a little bit deeper. I expected more of the plot but some of the chapters really did not add anything to the story and left me confused of what was the point! I agree with my fellow reviewers who thought it was kind of autobiographical in a kind of way. It is funny how the Pulitzer prize is even mentioned! I think that once again, my expectations were a bit too high.
I liked the fact that Less is almost 50 years old and is a normal guy, he’s not the shredded, too perfect guy that younger LGBT books usually have and romanticize. The characters were not very memorable for me, I did care a bit about Arthur but Less (see what I did there?) than I hoped for. The book gave me the seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo vibes except that that was much more well done.
“Boredom is the only real tragedy for a writer; everything else is material.”
Summary: Less was an okay book overall, I expected a bit more since it won a huge prize but that does not make it a bad book. I was always curious about the book and I am happy that I satisfied this curiosity now!