Less by Andrew Sean Greer

Why, oh why did my book club choose Less by Andrew Sean Greer? From the privileged, dislikeable character Arthur Less, to the lack of direction with the writing; I really wouldn’t recommend this book!

Arthur Less is a novelist who is about to turn fifty. When Arthur’s long-time flame, Freddy, announces he’s engaged to another man, he decides to skip town and travel the world.

As Arthur travels from Paris, Berlin, India and even Morocco, he easily picks up lovers and goes down memory lane of his previous flings. But as Arthur’s travels intensify so does his sense of existential dread. He quickly realises he’ll be returning to an empty home with no one he loves. As Arthur re-examines his life, he starts to wonder will he ever find love again?

I’m just going to get right to the point — I really didn’t like this book. What a bloody self-absorbed man. Let’s go over a couple of things — he has a paid off house in San Francisco, a fantastic career as a teacher and novelist, tons of friends and absolutely no debt or health problems. Are you seriously telling me that people should pity a character with that many positives going for him — but the man he loved for nine years decides to get engaged, Arthur’s life is worthless? This sad, pathetic, privileged middle-aged man is definitely one of the worst characters I’ve ever read.

While there were aspects that had potential, like Arthur’s fear of ageing and the rollercoaster of past lovers, there seemed to be no exploration of these problems. Instead, Arthur avoids these concerns by traveling the world rather than confronting his issues. This book could have had a fantastic learning opportunity by examining how Arthur could grow and evolve from his travels, but sure enough, nothing was resolved. I followed an angsty, middle aged, self-absorbed man all the way to the end of the book and felt nothing but anger and disappointment that I actually finished it.

I take absolutely no pleasure in writing negative reviews, but from my frustration and confusion, I have to say, I do not understand what the point of this novel is. Maybe after book club tonight I can understand other people’s perspectives on this, but either way, I would not recommend this novel.




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