Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review: LESS, by Andrew Sean Greer

Less, by Andrew Sean Greer. Published 2017 by Little, Brown. Literary Fiction.

Arthur Less is a mess. About to turn fifty, struggling with growing older and just found out that his younger ex Freddy is about to get married, Less decides to travel his feelings away. A successful B-list writer of literary novels, Less has been invited to teach here, attend a conference there, go to a party in another place and take a writer's retreat in yet another locale. So he packs his suitcase with clothes appropriate for Mexico, Morocco, India and Italy, and off he goes.

Along the way we learn about Less's history- his first love, a Pulitzer-Prize-winner who mentored him the ways of love and life, his friend Carlos, who's seen him through a lot, and Freddy, the aforementioned younger ex, whose relationship with Less is a little like a reversal of Less's first relationship. Less is insecure, he's anxious and he's careful. But he can't hide from himself, from the onset of the years or from his destiny.

This is the first novel of Andrew Sean Greer's I've read, though now I want to read more. Less is charming and sweet, and yet all is not quite as it seems. Greer's narrator is playing some gentle tricks on us; he's not unreliable, exactly, but he is a personage of note in the book and he has an agenda, peeled back and revealed slowly until the tears of happiness come at the end of this light yet moving and emotional book. Bring a pack of tissues when you take this book to the garden or the hammock or the beach this summer. You will need them.

Rating: BEACH

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review.

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