by Andrew Sean Greer
Library Journal This hilarious and touching novel follows Arthur Less, a gay man, as he travels around the world in order to avoid attending the wedding of his former lover. The wedding invitation was the final realization for Arthur that he never should have broken up with Freddy, and as Arthur's 50th birthday approaches, he realizes he may be alone forever. Arthur is a novelist, and although his publisher turned down his latest work, he is engaged in literary activities such as receiving an award, speaking at a conference, and teaching writing in such locations as New York City, Mexico, and Germany. He also travels to Morocco and rides a camel out into the desert. All along the way, there are wacky scenes of wrong directions taken, comic misunderstandings, and language barriers left standing. VERDICT Greer (The Confessions of Max Tivoli; The Impossible Life of Greta Wells) is both clever and compassionate as he steers Arthur through this rough period in his life, and while the book focuses on gay men and their relationships, the search for love and meaning is universal. [See Prepub Alert, 1/28/17.]-James Coan, SUNY at Oneonta Lib. © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Publishers Weekly In Greer's wistful new novel, a middle-aged writer accepts literary invitations around the world-making his way from San Francisco to New York, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Morocco, India, and Japan-so that he will have an excuse not to attend the wedding of a long-time lover. Arthur Less is not known primarily for his own work but for his lengthy romantic association with a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, an older man who was married to a woman when their liaison began, and he believes himself to be the butt of many cosmic jokes and that he is "less than" in most equations. This is partially proven true, but not entirely. And even in Less's mediocrity, when aided by a certain amount of serendipity (and displayed by the author with ironic humor), he affects people. Greer (The Confessions of Max Tivoli), an O'Henry-winning author, writes beautifully, but his occasionally Faulknerian sentences are unnecessary. He is entirely successful, though, in the authorial sleights of hand that make the narrator fade into the background-only to have an identity revealed at the end in a wonderful surprise. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Book list *Starred Review* 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. It follows Arthur Less, a novelist whose longtime boyfriend is getting married. In order to avoid the ceremony, Less accepts invitations to all the literary events he has been invited to. The subsequent tale moves across not only space from San Francisco to New York, Mexico, Italy, Germany, France, India, and Japan but also time, as Less looks back at his life as he approaches his fiftieth birthday. Once on the periphery of an artistic movement, the Russian River School, and involved with one of the founders, Less now exploits this connection to enable his journey.Through numerous flashbacks, Greer signals his debt to Proust (something he shares with Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad, 2010) and paints a comic yet moving picture of an American abroad. As Greer explores Less' lovelorn memories, he also playfully mocks the often ludicrous nature of the publishing industry, as does Percival Everett in his acerbic Erasure (2001). Less is a wondrous achievement, deserving an even larger audience than Greer's best-selling The Confessions of Max Tivoli (2004).--Moran, Alexander Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.