PROBLEM: You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years now engaged to someone else. You can’t say yes--it would all be too awkward--and you can’t say no--it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of half-baked literary invitations you’ve received from around the world.
QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?
ANSWER: You accept them all.
If you are Arthur Less.
Thus begins an around-the-world-in-eighty-days fantasia that will take Arthur Less to Mexico, Italy, Germany, Morocco, India and Japan and put thousands of miles between him and the problems he refuses to face. What could possibly go wrong?
Well: Arthur will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Sahara sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and arrive in Japan too late for the cherry blossoms. In between: science fiction fans, crazed academics, emergency rooms, starlets, doctors, exes and, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to see. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. The second phase of life, as he thinks of it, falling behind him like the second phase of a rocket. There will be his first love. And there will be his last.
A love story, a satire of the American abroad, a rumination on time and the human heart, 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.
PRAISE FOR LESS:
"Excuse me for interrupting, but I found the book I’ve been looking for, and it seems quite possible it’s the book you’re looking for too....I recommend it with my whole heart."--Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto, writing in Parnassus Books lit journal
"One may be able to quickly compile a list of great books, but great comedic books would take more time....Add Andrew Sean Greer's newest novel, Less, to this august group."--Corey Messler, Memphis Flyer
"Laughter is only a part of the joy of reading this book...bedazzling, bewitching, and be-wonderful"--Christopher Buckley, New York Times Book Review
"Philosophical, poignant, funny and wise, filled with unexpected turns"--San Francisco Chronicle
"Thoroughly delightful...so elegantly laced with wit"--Ron Charles, Washington Post
"It’s nothing less than wonderful."--Book Page
"Greer...keeps the laughs coming, but this rollicking satire on Americans abroad also yields a bittersweet meditation on love, aging and last chances."--San Jose Mercury News
"Andrew Sean Greer’s prose is as funny as it is smart."--Southern Living "Books Sure to Make You Laugh"
“Greer, the author of wonderful, heartfelt novels including The Confessions of Max Tivoli, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells and The Story of a Marriage, shows he has another powerful weapon in his arsenal: comedy. And who doesn’t need a laugh right about now?”—Connie Ogle, Miami Herald, "10 Best Books for Summer"
"If there are beach books in San Francisco – brrr – this summer's ought to be "Less."--Bay Area Reporter
“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…. Less is a wondrous achievement, deserving an even larger audience than Greer’s bestselling The Confessions of Max Tivoli (2004).” — starred review, Booklist
"Deftly switching between hilarious satire and poignant observation, Less captures the cadences of reality—unbearably funny and sad, often at the same time."--Lambda Literary Review
"We loved every second of Andrew Sean Greer’s funny, globe-trotting story about a middling writer running away from heartache...With its tenderhearted hero and humorous takes on the literary world and the indignities of aging, Less is a delight from start to finish." --iBooks, pick for July
"An engaging, funny literary romp." --Minneapolis Star Tribute Best Books of Summer
Departures magazine "Best Beach Reads to Indulge in This Summer"
STARRED REVIEWS: Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal
29 BEST BOOKS OF THE SUMMER--New York Post
“Treat yourself to this book. I missed subway stops. I doubled over in laughter. I experienced more pure reading pleasure than I have in ages. It is hilarious, and wise, and abundantly fun.”—Adam Haslett, author of Imagine Me Gone
"Marvelously, unexpectedly, endearingly funny. A love story focused on the erroneous belief that the second half of life will pale in comparison to the first. Guess what? It won't!"--Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
“A fast and rocketing read with everything I want from a story -- moments of high humor, moments of genuine wisdom, sharp insights and gorgeous images. A wonderful, wonderful book! -- Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
"The most deftly funny romantic comedy I've read in years. If you have a sentimental bone in your body (I have 206), the ending will make you sob little tears of joy." – Nell Zink, author of Mislaid and Nicotine
“I adore this book. It's funny, piquant, bittersweet and so achingly observant about the vanity of writers that it made me squirm in recognition. I'll probably read it again very soon.”--Armistead Maupin, author of Tales of the City