Less by Andrew Sean Greer 2017

This is an entertaining, clever, and moving novel which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2018.  It’s the story of Arthur Less; and yes, the last name is meant to be literal since Arthur, despite his patrician looks and modest success as an author is insecure and pretty much afraid of life.  His main fame as a writer arises from his long term relationship with a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Robert Brownburn, one of the famous poets of the Russian River group.  Less breaks up with Robert to pursue a love affair with Freddie, 20 years his junior and the son of his first lover, Carlos.  Freddie turns out to be the narrator of the book and well, you get the idea.  Set in New York, Paris, Mexico, India, Morocco, Italy, and Japan, each setting provides Greer with a new opportunity to frustrate and frighten the hapless Less who despite losing his suitcase, his favorite blue suit, his beard, and most everything else, nonetheless comes out the winner in every contest.  The book made me laugh out loud in several places, a benefit not to be underestimated in today’s world.  Kudos to the Pulitzer stuffed shirts for choosing a comic novel about a gay middle aged writer.  If you’re looking for light, escapist reading, this is for you.

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