This was my latest audiobook I listened to and it was such a strange little journey. Written by Andrew Sean Greer and narrated by the amazing Robert Petkoff, winner of the 2018 Pulitzer in Literature LESS, is the story of a failing writer.
When Arthur Less is about to turn fifty within the next few months, he receives a wedding invite from his most recent ex-boyfriend of nine years. It is this final straw that drives him to devise a globe trotting trip as he attempts to flee his problems. Using various literary events, Less uses everything from Italian Literature award ceremonies to Moroccan excursions, but the issue is he cannot escape his heart.
This book began in such a way that it almost made me put it down. Arthur Less is just about one of the worst characters to follow, because he is on all accounts fine, but instead wallows in his own self-wrought pain. This loathing towards the main character becomes a trend, but Greer has skillfully done this for a purpose and the narrative slowly rises from this and ramps up to an almost meta-discourse on story, people, and love.
Arthur Less becomes an endearing sonovabitch, despite his weak will and odd naivete. Each event he attends begins to change him, a little here, a little there, as he reflects on his life as people do nearing their 50th birthday. The prose itself, is beautiful and I mean gorgeous writing the whole way through. The beginning although set up for the rest of the book, I cannot forgive Greer for. A reader has to persevere through it though, in order to get to the real core of this book.
And for this I believe Less and Greer are attempting to impart how our humanity is a comedy, it is a novelty, and it is ours. In that, the story reaches a true triumph and in that I see it’s merit. If you enjoy more literary bent novels, this should be on your list!