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Less: A Novel – by Andrew Sean Greer

Get ready for an adventure with “Less: A Novel” by Andrew Sean Greer! In this captivating story, you’ll meet Arthur Less, a failed novelist about to hit the big 5-0. When he receives a wedding invitation from his ex-boyfriend, he’s faced with a dilemma. To avoid the awkwardness, he accepts a series of invitations to literary events across the world. From Paris to Berlin, and even a desert island in the Arabian Sea, Arthur embarks on a journey filled with mishaps, misunderstandings, and chances at love. Join him as he navigates through the complexities of life and discovers the true essence of love. Greer’s witty and lyrical prose will keep you hooked from start to finish in this delightful tale.

Less: A Novel - by Andrew Sean Greer

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Less: A Novel – by Andrew Sean Greer

Author and Publication Details

Author: Andrew Sean Greer

Format: Quality Paperback, Paperback

Publisher: Back Bay Books

Published: May 2018

Genre: Fiction – Gay

Retail Price: $17.99

Pages: 272

Andrew Sean Greer’s novel, “Less,” was first published by Back Bay Books in May 2018. It is available in quality paperback and paperback formats, with a retail price of $17.99. The book spans 272 pages and falls under the genre of fiction, specifically within the gay literature category. Greer is known for his exceptional storytelling and unique perspective on contemporary themes, making “Less” an intriguing addition to his repertoire.

Less: A Novel - by Andrew Sean Greer

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A New York Times Notable Book of 2017

A Washington Post Top Ten Book of 2017

A San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten Book of 2017

Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, the Lambda Award, and the California Book Award

“Less” has garnered significant recognition and praise since its release. It quickly became a national bestseller and was celebrated as a notable book by The New York Times in 2017. The Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle also noted it as one of the top ten books of that year. Additionally, “Less” was longlisted for prestigious awards, including the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, the Lambda Award, and the California Book Award.

The novel follows the journey of Arthur Less, a failed novelist who is on the cusp of turning fifty. His troubles compound when he receives an invitation to his ex-boyfriend’s wedding. Caught in a difficult situation, Less embarks on a series of half-baked literary events around the world to avoid confronting his emotions head-on. This decision sets the stage for a captivating and humorous narrative filled with mishaps, missteps, and unexpected encounters.

Throughout the novel, Less navigates various locations, from Paris to Berlin and even a Moroccan ski chalet. Each destination presents unique challenges and opportunities for self-discovery. Amidst the chaos, Less grapples with love, identity, aging, and the pursuit of meaningful connections. Greer’s exquisite storytelling and witty prose make “Less” a captivating exploration of the human experience.


“Less” by Andrew Sean Greer is a novel that transcends genres and offers readers a thought-provoking and humorous narrative. This article will delve into the significance of the novel, the author’s background and influences, and the context of the LGBT literary genre. By providing a comprehensive overview, readers will gain a deeper understanding of the novel’s themes and narrative structure.

Less: A Novel - by Andrew Sean Greer

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Plot Summary

“Less” centers around the life of Arthur Less, a failed novelist who is about to reach his fiftieth birthday. When he receives an invitation to his ex-boyfriend’s wedding, Less is caught off guard and unsure of how to respond. In an attempt to avoid the uncomfortable situation, he accepts a series of invitations to literary events worldwide.

As Less embarks on his journey, he encounters a myriad of mishaps, from almost falling in love in Paris to narrowly escaping death in Berlin. He finds himself taking refuge in a Moroccan ski chalet after a Saharan sandstorm and unexpectedly becomes the writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India. Additionally, he discovers the last person he wants to face on a desert island in the Arabian Sea. Amidst these adventures, Less grapples with the complexities of love and the inevitability of turning fifty.

Greer utilizes a unique narrative structure to explore Less’s experiences and emotions throughout the novel. This structure allows readers to delve deeper into his character development and engage with the story on a more intimate level.

Main Characters

The protagonist of “Less” is Arthur Less, a failed novelist with a witty and self-deprecating nature. Less’s character serves as the driving force behind the novel’s plot, as he navigates various literary events and confronts personal challenges. Alongside Less, the novel features a cast of memorable characters who shape his journey. These include his ex-boyfriend, who is getting married, as well as individuals Less encounters during his travels. Each character brings a unique perspective to the narrative and contributes to Less’s growth and self-discovery.


“Less” takes readers on a whirlwind tour of various locations across the globe. From the romantic streets of Paris to the bustling city of Berlin, and even the serene landscapes of Morocco, the novel presents a rich and diverse setting. These locations not only serve as backdrops for Less’s adventures but also contribute to the overall themes of the novel. Greer expertly crafts each setting to elicit specific emotions and highlight Less’s personal journey.


“Less” explores several central themes that resonate with readers and provoke introspection. Love plays a significant role throughout the novel, as Less grapples with his past relationships, including his first love and his ex-boyfriend’s impending marriage. Identity is another core theme, as Less navigates the complexities of his own identity as a gay man and a struggling writer. The theme of aging is also prevalent, with Less nearing the milestone of fifty and contemplating the passage of time. Finally, the novel delves into the theme of self-discovery, as Less embarks on a journey that forces him to confront his fears, insecurities, and desires.

Writing Style

Andrew Sean Greer’s writing style in “Less” is marked by a balance of humor, satire, and wit. His clever and insightful prose engages readers from the first page, allowing them to immerse themselves in the world of Arthur Less. Greer’s narrative voice and tone contribute to the novel’s overall charm, capturing the nuances of the protagonist’s thoughts and experiences. Through his writing, Greer evokes a sense of empathy and warmth, ensuring readers connect with Less on an emotional level.

Critical Reception

“Less” has received widespread critical acclaim for its unique storytelling and exploration of universal themes. Readers and reviewers have praised Greer’s ability to blend humor and heartache seamlessly. The novel has been hailed as a scintillating satire of the American abroad, capturing the human comedy that exists within our shared experiences. Critics have noted Greer’s inspired and lyrical writing style, which adds depth and nuance to the narrative.


As a critically acclaimed novel, there has been speculation about potential adaptations of “Less” into other forms of media. While there is currently no confirmed adaptation, the novel’s rich characters and vibrant story lend themselves well to various mediums. Hollywood has shown a growing interest in diverse and compelling narratives, making “Less” a strong contender for future adaptation. The challenges of adapting the intricacies of Greer’s storytelling and wit onto the screen or stage would undoubtedly be met with excitement by both fans of the novel and broader audiences.

In conclusion, “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer is a captivating and humorous novel that delves into themes of love, identity, aging, and self-discovery. Greer’s unique writing style, coupled with a compelling protagonist and a diverse array of settings, creates an immersive reading experience. The novel has received critical acclaim and garnered a loyal readership. With its universal themes and engaging narrative, “Less” has the potential to captivate audiences in various forms of media, should it be adapted in the future.