Review: Less by Andrew Sean Greer


Thanks to blogger Book Club Mom for bringing this book to my attention.

The Story

“…Less finds himself searching for an appropriate prayer. He was, however, raised Unitarian so he has only Joan Baez to turn to and ‘Diamonds and Rust’ gives no solace.”

Andrew Less wants to escape his life. His ex-lover is getting married throwing him into a spin. Less accepts a writing assignment and travels to it via the world. A one-time bright light in the “Russian River School” of poets and writers, Arthur Less today is well, less than that. Told in shifting scenes back-and-forth in time, the novel shows us a sometimes, funny, often wonderfully ridiculous, middle-aged gay man whose life is less than he’d like it to be.

My Thoughts

I found Andrew Less to be an amusing character. The ordinariness of his novelist’s life was fun. I loved his run-ins with red-tape–like getting a refund on VAT-taxes. And then there were the all-too-real conference and talking head show scenes. Loved, loved, loved them! Those were the scenes that made the book so fun.

I liked, too, that Arthur Less encountered a group of Christians and didn’t go off on how bigotted they were–of course, they weren’t Americans so maybe that is why.

Had I picked this up without the Pulitzer Prize winner billing, I’d have really thought it as good. But what the heck? How did this beach-read earn the Pulitzer Prize for fiction? I must have missed some massive symbolism of something. I fun read–sure, absolutely. A memorable character? Sure. Think all those The Something Something Life of Somebody Somebody-titled books about quirky characters only male. That’s Less. The author must have set the world’s best lobbyists to work on the Pulitzer committee. To compare this to The Underground Railroad, The Killer Angels, The Color Purple, The Caine Mutiny, or The Good Earth (other Pulitzer Prize winners) is laughable.

My Verdict


A fun read, well worth your time, but forget Pulitzer Prize winner status.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer


2 thoughts on “Review: Less by Andrew Sean Greer

  1. Thanks for the link back! I have mixed feelings about your Pulitzer comment. I saw an interview in which Greer seemed just as surprised that he won. That said, the underlying theme of running away in search of happiness seemed to hit me just right and I loved the symbolism that went with it. I think because it’s such a funny romcom, that’s more what readers remember rather than the more serious parts. And that tends to make it seem like a simple book. That’s what’s great about books, though – everyone has a different reaction. 🙂


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