Less by Andrew Sean Greer,
Lee Bourdreaux Books, 2017
When I think of Pulitzer Prize winning reads, I don’t think of sitting in my comfy chair and laughing out loud to myself. And yet that is exactly what I did while reading Andrew Sean Greer’s award-winning novel, Less. A comedic story of Arthur Less — a ‘mediocre’ author, rapidly approaching 50, who travels the globe in order to avoid his ex-boyfriend’s wedding.
This is the story of one man’s misadventures as he comes to terms with his life. A dog takes off with his favorite suit in India; he gets locked in a restaurant in Japan; in Germany he gets locked out of his room and he ends up on the ledge outside his window; he gets caught in a Saharan sandstorm; and his luggage gets lost on the way home.
Arthur is oblivious, almost innocent. And we fall in love with Arthur because he is fallible, like us. He says stupid things. He misinterprets things. He loses things. He gets lost. But he always comes out on top, which is what we hope for in ourselves. As his nemesis reveals to him, “Arthur, you have the luck of a comedian. Bad luck in things that don’t matter. Good luck in things that do… Arthur Less, you have the best life of anyone I know.”
Greer makes clever use of flashbacks to give us important backstory into Arthur’s life. And his witty use of metaphors and the lyrical prose make this a super fun and an easy read. Greer’s surprise revelation of the narrator at the end, adds to the playfulness of the story. This is a book of love, loss and second chances. It is both heartwarming and poignant. Instead of a coming-of-age story, this is a coming-of-aging story. And it gives me hope that even if I don’t age with grace, I will at least find the humor along the way. Congratulations Andrew Sean Greer!
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