Book Review Time: Less Is Lost

What makes a home? It need not be a specific place. In my opinion, it’s the space we share with those we love. The memories we make, both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Spectacular and mundane. Moments that bind us. Our roots are fortified in each other, as we journey through this precarious adventure called Life.

In 2018, I read an absolutely adorable novel called, Less. It’s the story of a writer, Arthur Less, who as he approaches 50, finds himself in the midst of an existential crisis. He has only garnered limited success professionally. And his romantic life is rocky. He’s in love with a younger man. But their status is ill-defined. Less often refers back to the 15 year long relationship he had with his former lover, a successful poet, Robert Brownburn, when analyzing his current situation. Though he learned much from that relationship, his analysis of their life together often exacerbates his feelings of inadequacy.

How can a struggling writer shake off the pangs of mediocrity and escape a floundering romance? 

By getting out of town…and quickly! 

With a little bit of money and literary engagements on the docket, Less takes off on a madcap international adventure. And as a reader, you’ll root for this lovable, self-deprecating, clumsy hero the whole way. Andrew Sean Greer didn’t win the Pulitzer for nothing.

Well, guess what? Less is back!!!

And apparently, he’s lost.

Arthur Less is a writer/traveller. Therefore, this novel pairs well with a “paper plane.” If the bartender doesn’t know how to make one, leave that establishment, toute suite.

In this second installment of the Lessian series, we find our hero in a bit of a sweet spot. He has acquired moderate success in his career, even though he is sometimes confused with another writer who shares his name. Less’s German is just as bad as it’s ever been despite regular practice. Yet he persists with admirable determination. And the relationship with his partner, Freddy Pelu, seems to be going well. An emphasis on seems. 

But, when tragedy strikes, cracks in Less’s life are revealed. Fears of abandonment weigh heavily on him, as does an unexpected financial burden. But Less will handle it, in the only way he knows how. He’ll go on an adventure, albeit a reluctant one.

Traveling across America, in a beat-up camper, making stops in indigenous lands, the Deep South, and his Mid-Atlantic hometown, Less experiences an odyssey of sorts, which forces him to question his beliefs about himself and others. In confronting his past, Less will discover a way forward. A path that may just lead him back home. And he will do it all with humor, grace, humility, and an ill-advised handlebar mustache.

I love Arthur Less. I’d follow him on any adventure.

Less Is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer is a must read!


P.S. For those followers that signed up for “The Bookish Planner” and subscribed for inclusion on the master contact list, you will be receiving an email from me this week. In it, I share a personal story of how reading has impacted my life and allowed me to make unexpected connections. I hope you’ll enjoy it. So, be on the look out for that email.

5 thoughts on “Book Review Time: Less Is Lost

  1. Thanks to you, I am currently reading Less. I’m halfway through and thoroughly love Arthur Less. Also thanks to you, I have a copy of Less is Lost, and will start that as soon as I’m done with my current read.

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