What a fun ride! After my last award winning read turned out to be a letdown (The Space Between), I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Greer’s novel. Less focuses on Arthur Less, a mediocre writer having professional and personal difficulties- his publisher and his long-time boyfriend have both dumped him. As the boyfriend’s wedding to someone else approaches, Arthur panics- he doesn’t want to attend the wedding but he doesn’t want to refuse the invite as it would be admitting that he isn’t over his ex. To get himself out of this conundrum, he accepts every travel invite on his desk, resulting in an around the world trip of awkward conferences, writer-in-residence programs and other peoples’ birthday parties (the latter happens to overlap with his own 50th birthday, which is giving him anxiety he won’t admit to).
The resulting novel is a comedic journey through Mexico, France, Italy, Germany, Morocco, India and Japan, with Arthur haplessly worming his way deeper into your affections with each chapter. He is enthusiastic and often unaware of how ridiculous he is, but not in an obnoxious way (my favorite part was his insistence on using the German he imagines himself fluent in, to great comedic effect). Greer and Arthur are also kind towards the places and people Arthur stumbles into- they recognize that Arthur’s expectations aren’t the standard to judge by, and that he is the interloper in these countries, not the other way around.
This was so fun, so well written, and had so much heart. Read it!