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Publisher's Summary

A breakout romantic comedy by the best-selling author of five critically acclaimed novels.

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

You are a failed novelist about to turn 50. 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 literary events around the world.

Question: How do you arrange to skip town?

Answer: You accept them all.

What would possibly go wrong?

Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: He will turn 50. Through it all there is his first love. And there is his last.

Because despite all these mishaps, missteps, misunderstandings, and mistakes, Less is, above all, a love story.

A scintillating satire of the American abroad, a rumination on time and the human heart, a bittersweet romance of chances lost, by an author the New York Times has hailed as "inspired, lyrical", "elegiac", and "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.

©2017 Andrew Sean Greer (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Andrew Sean Greer is one of the most talented writers around, feeling and funny, with a genuinely fine prose style and a sensibility to match." (Michael Chabon)
"Andy Sean Greer writes with an intelligent joy that encompasses a truly kaleidoscopic vision, reminding me of the work of Peter Carey and David Mitchell. This novel is beautifully sewn together." (Colum McCann)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Endearing, funny, but sometimes overly clever

Any additional comments?

Essentially a love story this novel has some sweet moments. But as an audio book it can be confusing. The protagonist is both traveling around the world, as well as constantly reviewing his life, and his loves, through the years, in his head.

One great love began in 1987 and lasts I believe 15 years. Another began 9 years ago and ends right before he begins his travels. At any given moment he may be reliving either of those relationships, or any of his many dalliances on the side. So if you listen to half of one of the hour plus long chapters one day, and the remainder of the chapter the next, you will find yourself trying to remember...where is he now? Who is he "talking" about?

The author also has bouts of very clever metaphors and wordplay. Which can be brilliant and paint a vivid image in your head, or sometimes he will come up with something and you will be like...what did he say? Is that a real word? So maybe audio isn't the best medium to enjoy this book, unless you are ok with the occasionally "rewind" here and there to get your bearings.

The main character takes awhile to warm up to, what with all his issues and quirks. One thing that really stands out though is the author's descriptive abilities to describe the world the main character is traveling through. Especially thru Morocco and India, those images will stay with me.

Overall the book was entertaining, clever, sometimes funny, sometimes quite touching. At other times it felt a bit over written, like the author was trying too hard. The professional narrator does an excellent job with all the characters, male and female, as well as various accents from Japanese to Italian.





20 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

One of the few books I will read again

I just finished it and I LOVED IT!!! It is the best book I've listen to this year! It has everything I like: Humor, sarcasm, self deprecation, travel, middle age crisis, a mysterious narrator, a love story, San Francisco, Texas, great characters, and a great ending! I highly recommend it 👍

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Less is so much more!!

What a delightful book! A great love story spooled along a round-the-world trip, each chapter a funny, self-deprecating, insightful snapshot. Original, sweet, smart, wry.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The narrator made the book come alive

The narrator was so skilled at accents and voices that you felt that you were travelling the world with Arthur Les. Arthur Les' insecurities are so endearing that you are rooting for him to succeed. Even though it is told in the third person, you experience life through Arthur Les' eyes, and little by little realize how unreliable he is at interpreting his own life. Thoroughly delightful book with a satisfying ending.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A beautiful journey

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. After seeing a tweet from the author about having won a Pulitzer and reading the reviews I thought id take a chance and I’m so happy I did. The story was funny and charming and beautiful Arthur Less is a beautifully endearing character and his friends feel like they are my friends!! I loved everything about this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it

Would you consider the audio edition of Less to be better than the print version?

I would consider the audio edition to be better than the print version. I followed along in the print version as I listened to the audio version.

What did you like best about this story?

I could relate to the story. I also loved the adventure of such exotic travel with San Francisco as a home base.

Which character – as performed by Robert Petkoff – was your favorite?

Less of course. I could picture him in my mind at all stages of his life, but I could imagine the author as him too.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I'd say I felt wistful as I read it. And I laughed a lot too. It's not remotely sad.

Any additional comments?

This is a book I loved enough to want to read again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Explore the world through less

This novel reminded me of Eat Pray Love with its round the world trip of life. The main character Les is witty, sarcastic, & wise. A funny, beautifully written reflection on life, everyone can relate to the humiliations, embarrassments, & insights gained as Les arranges a world wide junket to avoid his birthday & the wedding of his former lover. Enjoyed every minute & every country.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I wanted to like this more...

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I listened to this book for book club. We chose it because it was on a "must read" list. It is a beautifully written book, which is always enjoyable, and there were parts where I laughed out loud. I understand that the point of the book was that the character was too self-involved, but it just became too much as the book progressed. I just wanted him to get a grip and move on. I might recommend this book depending on what the person was looking for and what they like.

If you’ve listened to books by Andrew Sean Greer before, how does this one compare?

I haven't listened this author's books before. This was the first one.

Have you listened to any of Robert Petkoff’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I haven't listened to the narrator's books before, but felt he did an excellent job. I am a Speech Pathologist and very picky about the voices I listen to on audiobooks. Robert Petkoff has a very mellow and pleasing tone to his voice, with good rhythm and intonation. It was an excellent listen in that regard.

Was Less worth the listening time?

At times it was, but overall it wasn't my favorite book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully Written Coupled with Stellar Narration

What did you like best about this story?

Refreshing read for our times, a coming-of-middle age tale of a gay man dealing with the sometimes comedic, yet poignant life lessons. The author, Greer's prose is lyrical, humorous, and endearing; not a single wasted word.

What does Robert Petkoff bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Vivid narration, like a radio play. Incredible sense of characters through his voice and dialects used

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Slower than a slow burn.

I kept listening to this audio book hoping something would turn around. Perhaps it was a slow burn? But no...it was just slow. And honestly, there was no reward at the end. The main character is self absorbed and the language is too aware of itself...like Arthur Less. If this hadn't been part of my book club reading, I would have given up on it within the first chapter.

Do yourself a favor and skip this book. Save yourself the 8 hours and literally do anything else with your time.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful