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3.76  ·  Rating details ·  63,099 ratings  ·  8,317 reviews
8 hours, 20 minutes

Who says you can't run away from your problems?

You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can't say yes--it would be too awkward--and you can't say no--it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked litera
ebook, 1 edition, 272 pages
Published July 18th 2017 by Lee Boudreaux Books
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Bookslut I thought it was great. I've read almost all of the Pulitzers, and this is one of my favorites. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
AZ BOOKS I just finished the book- not sure there would be much to discuss for a book club. I am always partial to a good road trip book and this has that -not…moreI just finished the book- not sure there would be much to discuss for a book club. I am always partial to a good road trip book and this has that -not sure why it warranted a Pulitzer.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  63,099 ratings  ·  8,317 reviews

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Maggie Stiefvater
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, recommended
What a soft-hearted bastard of a novel.

It's the story of a failed — failing — novelist about to turn fifty. His long-time lover is marrying someone else, and he's been invited to the wedding. To avoid the whispers and rumors that would abound, he takes the only course of action he can imagine: accepting every literary invitation he's been putting off, a journey that will take him around the globe and well away from the wedding of the man he loved. Loves.

It had me from the first page, and I'm no
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wanted to dislike this book for petty reasons grounded in irrationality but it's quite a brilliant novel, with exceptional writing and a depth of character rarely seen in fiction. I'm also surprised I loved this book because I hate books about writers.

Less is a frustrating man who gets in his own way all too often. There were many times when I wanted him to get his head out of his ass. Also, the narration doesn't quite work until the very end and then it all makes sense so I had to go back and
Lewis Weinstein
Jan 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction-general
There is no story ... the main character is totally uninteresting and evokes no positive feelings ... the writing is competent but snarky, and also repetitive ... the tour guide information, country after country, is paper-thin and offers no particular insights
Elyse Walters
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it

I can’t believe I’m writing this review the same day I came home from surgery.... but other than a little tire - I’m feeling ‘great’.....happy with what my surgeon did. After 3 surgeries last year for skin cancer - the loss of a half of a nose - a slice down my forehead- today was my first ‘repair’ surgery. I’m blown away - my nose ‘almost’ looks normal. Wow...such a ‘huge’ difference already. Sure - I need to heal- stitches and such - but it’s a miracle what the surgeon
Larry H
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
It's been said (in a catty way, of course) that after age 42 gay men become invisible, that no one wants an older gay man except, if they're lucky, another gay man. Andrew Sean Greer's beautifully moving but slightly uneven new novel, Less , deals with a man coming to terms approaching his 50th birthday, wondering if he'll ever find true love, and trying to define himself and his career. No small feat, there!

When he was in his early 20s, he was the boyfriend of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rober
Less follows almost fifty-year-old Arthur Less, a not-so-popular novelist whose boyfriend of the past nine years is about to marry someone else. When Less gets the wedding invite, he decides to skip town and travel all around the world to different literary events. We accompany Less as he adventures to Paris, Berlin, India, and more.

Cutting to the chase: I did not like this book. Certain elements had potential, such as Less's fear of aging and his emotions surrounding past romantic relationships
Glenn Sumi
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pulitzer-winners
An Evening With Arthur Less (and yours truly):

I’ve been writing lots of traditional reviews for work lately, so I thought I’d try to make this one fun and entertaining to write... and hopefully read. If you’ll indulge me, here’s a Q&A with Arthur Less, the main character of Andrew Sean Greer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Less.

First a bit of background. Less is a middle-aged, midlist novelist, who’s about to turn 50, and at the beginning of the book he’s just found out that Freddy, his youn
This is a beautifully written, lyrical, comic, often profound and moving Pulitzer winning novel, to me it often feels like a gay version of Eat, Pray, Love. A little known, gay and inconsequential writer, Arthur Less, is approaching 50 with fear, his body is displaying all the physical symptoms of getting older. In his mind, he is the first gay man to face the quandry of the aging process, he has known hardly any gay men who have lived to this age. His problems are intensified because his curren ...more
Justin Tate
The writing was magnificent, the witticisms numerous, but couldn’t get into the all-over-the-place story.
Well, Mr. Andrew Sean Greer. . . looks like you and I will be meeting out for drinks after all.

What's that now? You're gay?

And I'm. . . married?


Semantics, my friend. Mere semantics.

Let's meet out, Andrew, and start with appetizers. Let's have one of those fantastic first dates. . . you know. . . the rare, but fabulous kind, where you keep ordering food you're too nervous to eat, because the anticipation is building and all you can think about is the magnetic connection of lips.

And, I've
Violet wells
If you scroll down lists of Pulitzer or Booker winners you'll find novels that are almost certainly destined to become classics mixed in with others that raise an eyebrow and are relatively obscure and almost certainly destined to remain so. Some years, if there was nothing better than the winner on offer, you can't help feeling it might have been better to withhold the prize. To maintain the integrity of the prize. That this won the Pulitzer gives more weight to the suspicion that for the first ...more
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
4ish stars.

Such a clever book. For the first third or so, I felt like there was something missing. Was this really deserving of the Pulitzer? (PULL-it-sir, by the way, not PEW-lit-zer, as the characters and I learn). I couldn't quite put my finger on it... Too spoony? Too magniloquent (with the use of words such as peripateticism, quaalude, and magniloquent)? More like too insubstantial. Funny but fluffy. As Less's journey around the world continues, however, his story becomes fuller, deeper, wi
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-books
What a fabulous, fantastic, gorgeous book! How on earth did something like this win something so serious as the Pulitzer? I am amazed.

I loved every beautifully written word. It was funny, it was clever, it was sad, it was quirky and it was totally addictive. How could you possibly not fall in love with Arthur Less? At first you conform with Arthur's opinion of himself but as the book progresses you start to realise that other people do not see him the way he sees himself.

The ending was just per
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Vividly written but lacking a strong sense of direction, Less follows the titular character around the globe, from Germany to Japan, as he tries to outrun loneliness and middle age. Arthur Less is a middling novelist approaching fifty whose longtime flame Freddy has just announced he’s become engaged to another man. Less and Freddy have spent nine years together, and the former’s refusal to commit to marriage has finally caught up with him. In order to avoid attending Freddy’s wedding, or proces ...more
LESS would have been MORE?

I know that is a cheap wordplay on the title and the pun-filled content, but the novel has put me in that silly state of mind, and I find myself running away from my own review out of sheer laziness and lack of focus.

A Pulitzer Prize winning novel of mediocre skill describing a mediocre writer who lived with a Pulitzer Prize winning genius before settling on another lover, who in turn is about to get married to someone else at the beginning of the story - that is the
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Update - as predicted, came back and changed my rating to a 5.

Completely endearing and moving portrait of a gay man in mid-life crisis. Forty-nine year old San Franciscan author Arthur Less has just been left by his lover of nine years and his latest book has been spurned by his publisher. His fiftieth birthday is fast approaching. Less receives a wedding invitation from his lover and is desperate to be somewhere else so he doesn't have to attend. What would any reasonable person do? Of course,
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, book-clubs
2.5 rounded up

I started trying to listen to this earlier this fall and couldn’t get into it. But then our book club picked it for our December read, so I had no choice but to start up with it again.

Less is a writer of mediocre talents. His latest book has been declined by his publisher. Less’ ex-boyfriend of nine years is getting married and Less has been invited to the wedding. Looking for a plausible reason to avoid going, he accepts a whole series of engagements - panels, awards, teaching as
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Seemita by: Pulitzer Prize
How long can you walk in another person's shoes without feeling the pinch of it? A few minutes? Some hours perhaps? Or a couple of days? Now, what if I tell you it doesn’t hurt to walk in those shoes? Will you choose to walk longer in them? Will you come to wear the skin a little tighter? Will you understand its soft corners a little better? Will you accept its rough edges a little easily?

In Arthur Less’, I did.

No, I am neither a failed author nor have I been in a relationship with a celebrity.
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Arthur Less is about to turn 50 and has just received an invitation to a wedding he wants to avoid at all costs. It's the wedding of Freddy, a man who had been Arthur's lover for nine years. This book documents his world travels - a mishmash of appointments across the globe planned with the express purpose of avoiding the dreaded nuptials - during which, we hope, he will achieve a sort of wisdom about his life.

He's a writer, and his latest, unfinished book is about the sorrows of a middle aged
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
h o l y s h i t

loved this one.
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Officially debunks Forster's "Maurice" as having the happiest ending EVER for a gay love story; it contains its won contemporary form of genuine sweetness. I read this quite carefully, underlining countless passages, as it will be out first LGBTQBC (Book Club) selection here at 'The Drop,' Denver. I could not have chosen a better novel!

Its optimism is its main attribute. It is very funny, too. The Single & Sad Gay Man is deconstructed and we are better humans (not to say, fortunate readers)
Alison Smith
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
I chose this book because the reviews implied it was hilarious. It was funny-ish, but not the gut-clenching laugh bomb I was hoping for. The story felt more like a surface-level, gay "Eat, Pray, Love" type of sojourn. And it was kind of depressing. Just not my thing, especially when I expected funny. : (
Michael Ferro
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastically written, both witty and gut-bustlingly funny, and empathic in all the right ways, LESS is a very fine book. As advertised, it was a truly entertaining read and one that often showcased a real talent for emotional depth, while still maintaining that sly edge of humor—and this is no easy task, as combining the sad and funny is a true fine line.

As a writer (and an even less important one than the self-effacing main character, Arthur Less), I found it thoroughly enjoyable to read abou
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“Just for the record: happiness is not bullshit.”

I picked up Less for one reason and one reason alone . . . . .

“You won?”

“It’s not Pew-lit-sir. It’s Pull-it-sir. Holy fuck, Arthur, I won.”

Occasionally I like to prove that I don’t live on porn and murder alone and venture out. The world of award winners has generally worked out pretty well for me and, although I’m not a zealot about it, I try to squeeze in a Pulitzer, Man Booker o
“As for Less, Freddy was not even his type. Arthur Less had always fallen for older men; they were the real danger. Some kid who couldn’t even name the Beatles? A diversion; a pastime; a hobby.”

Arthur Less was a pale, intelligent, bespectacled schoolboy who grew up to be presentably tall, blond and moderately successful as an author. Attractive enough to appeal to plenty of men, particularly, Robert, a world-famous poet (of the “Russian River School”) who became his partner long enough for Art
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very funny book, at times I laughed out loud, not easy for a writer to accomplish. Less is almost 50, has just had his lover of 9 years leave him for another man and feels likes he hasn't done much in his life. He decides to accept a bunch of writer's lectures and other assorted invitations to journey around the world and forget his woes. Woes goes with you though.
da AL
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Less" is a love letter to all of us who've made mistakes. It's a love letter for us who've been lucky to live long enough to do really stupid stuff (and admit it to ourselves) when it comes to love, life, and aging. The audiobook performer is superb.
Julie Ehlers
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
Less is the novel I always want to be reading: funny, smart, bookish and a bit erudite but still accessible, skillful, poignant, moving, and (did I mention?) funny. Oh yes, and entertaining AF, with vivid characters and a fascinating changing landscape, both literally (Arthur Less travels a lot) and emotionally. I've been in a bit of a reading slump these past few days, and this book is why. All I want is another book like Less.

I recognize that for some people and groups, the character of Arthur
Peter Boyle
There was a commotion earlier this year over Less being the first comic novel to win the Pulitzer in quite some time. To be honest, I found it more amusing than flat-out hilarious. But I wasn't expecting to be so moved by it. It's a beautiful story of a man coming to terms with age and regret, trying to find his place in a world that seems to be moving on without him.

Arthur Less is an American novelist approaching his fiftieth year. Freddie, his last serious partner, is set to be married in the
Matthew Quann
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
[4.5 Stars]

At first glance, Less is not the type of book you expect to take home the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It seems far too funny, not always serious, and is essentially a romantic novel. If anything, the first bits of the book had the lyrical prose and strong sense of voice that I expect from Pulitzer winners, but didn't wow me with its story. It wasn't until Arthur Less's continent-hopping journey brought him to Morocco that I saw the warmth and humanity bursting from the seams of this b
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Around the Year i...: Less, by Andrew Sean Greer 3 39 Apr 14, 2019 07:17PM  
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Andrew Sean Greer (born 1970) is an American novelist and short story writer.

He is the bestselling author of The Story of a Marriage, which The New York Times has called an “inspired, lyrical novel,” and The Confessions of Max Tivoli, which was named one of the best books of 2004 by the San Francisco Chronicle and received a California Book Award.

The child of two scientists, Greer studied writing
“He kisses—how do I explain it? Like someone in love. Like he has nothing to lose. Like someone who has just learned a foreign language and can use only the present tense and only the second person. Only now, only you. There are some men who have never been kissed like that. There are some men who discover, after Arthur Less, that they never will be again.” 84 likes
“Strange to be almost fifty, no? I feel like I just understood how to be young."
"Yes! It's like the last day in a foreign country. You finally figure out where to get coffee, and drinks, and a good steak. And then you have to leave. And you won't ever be back.”
More quotes…