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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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    426
  • 2 Stars
    155
  • 1 Stars
    99

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1,606
  • 4 Stars
    545
  • 3 Stars
    227
  • 2 Stars
    56
  • 1 Stars
    49

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    1,111
  • 4 Stars
    641
  • 3 Stars
    433
  • 2 Stars
    171
  • 1 Stars
    117
Sort by:
  • 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.





92 of 96 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kelly
  • Colorado Springs
  • 05-01-18

It should not have won.

I was excited to listen to this book for several reasons. The primary ones being the fact that it just won the Pulitzer Prize and that I kept hearing it was very funny. Unfortunately I wasn't swept away. There is no plot. It is really more of a character portrait which is often perfect for me because I love character-driven stories. There were moments when I smiled at the unique and quick humor.
And there were other times when I thought the book was quite charming. But then whole sections also bored me to tears and frustrated me. In the end I couldn't decide if the charm I found in the pages of the book was actually owed to the book or if it was due to my personal memories of a vacation I took to Morocco. And even though I only finished the book yesterday, I already feel it is mostly forgotten.

Side note: I really don't understand what it was that made this book merit the Pulitzer Prize.

81 of 87 people found this review helpful

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

sigh

Ho boy - I must be in the minority here, but I don't get the hype about this book. I did keep thinking as I was listening, that it might be much better in print than via the spoken word. The chapters end abruptly in a way that might be amusing in print, but
not when narrated. The narrator is terrific - for some books I am sure. But not, in my opinion, for this one. He was just too calm and comforting, and made Arthur Less's foibles seem like so much simple bad judgement. I think this book needed someone a lot more manic and maybe a bit hysterical.

Honestly, I was so eager to get this book - the last comedic novel to win the Pulitzer was the incomparable Confederacy of Dunces. How is this thinly veiled autobiography (I could be wrong about this of course!) in the same league? In the end I was simply bored with Less's acute self-involvement and ridiculous preoccupation with aging. I am happy for the author but I really don't agree with the Pulitzer committee here.

If only Less were not so deserving of its title.

41 of 44 people found this review helpful

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

Not interesting

I did not think the story was interesting. I did not find the characters interesting.
I can’t understand the high ratings by many. I ran into a friend in my book group midway though who told me to stick with it, that it would get better. I stuck with it but it did not get better.
The guy that read it did a nice job and I think it was well written technically. Just not a good story.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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

Pretty ho-hum

I so looked forward to reading Less because of the Pulitzer and the hype. Alas, I found it overwrought, precious and unfunny. I cannot imagine why this won so prestigious a prize.

12 of 13 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 👍

30 of 34 people found this review helpful

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

How did this win a Pulitzer?

A friend recommended this book, saying it was funny and had a good storyline. So I was inclined to find it likable. However, I could barely finish it. The plot and character development were both so flat that I could hardly even connect with the protagonist. The beginning was good enough, but after a while, I kept wondering when some kind of engaging development would take place, or even just for some kind of awakening in Arthur...but it was not to be. I was so disappointed. I would not recommend this book at all. The narrator gave a good performance, but that's the only really good thing about the book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mary
  • Alexandria, Va, United States
  • 07-12-18

Less than expected

First half was very slow. Second half improved. Favorite part was his time in India.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

A Waste of Time

Why would this poorly written uninteresting book even be considered by PBS and the New York Times for the Book club?

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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

Pass...

I didn't find this book to be the least bit entertaining. It wasn't charming or witty. I'm all for books about the everyday man, but Less wasn't interesting. I kept waiting for that to change, but it never did. For me it was like telling a story about nothing. This is a book I will quickly forget.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful