*Just a gentle note, this review may contain small spoilers*
This book has been everywhere, hasn’t it? Over the past couple of months, this book has had a big momentum behind it. Why? Because this book, Less by Andrew Sean Greer won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2018. So, what’s it all about? Here’s the blurb:
WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T RUN AWAY FROM YOUR PROBLEMS?
Arthur Less is a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the post: it is from an ex-boyfriend of nine years who is engaged to someone else. Arthur can’t say yes – it would look to awkward; he can’t say no – it would look like defeat. So he begins to accept the invitations on his desk to half-baked literary events around the world.
From France to India, Germany to Japan, Arthur almost falls in love, almost falls to death and puts miles between him and the plight he refuses to face. Less is a novel about mishaps, misunderstanding and the depths of the human heart.
Sounds good, right? Ever since the book was published in the UK, I was intrigued by this book. I wanted to know more. I wanted to read it right away. But more books and more books got in the way and it slipped my mind but when I had two gift cards for Waterstones, that was my chance.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. I thought Arthur was a great character and the writing was fun, observant, brilliant and Greer never misses a beat. But, on the other hand, part of me feels that it dragged a bit (well, a lot actually) and I ended up not really caring about Arthur as much as I did in the beginning. For me, the best moments were the flashbacks with Robert/Freddy – that’s what interested me the most in the book/story.
Greer’s writing style and voice is brilliant throughout. Whether that being one single word or a sentence here or a paragraph there, he has a way with words that is inspiring at times. One of the biggest points for me in this book is that it’s filled with humour. While there might be a couple of sentences of waffle, there are sentences that will make you laugh out loud. For example:
It is a bad musical, but, like a bad lay, a bad musical can still do its job perfectly well. By the end, Arthur Less is in tears, sobbing in his seat, and he thinks he has been sobbing quietly until the lights come up and the woman seated beside him turns and says, “Honey, I don’t know what happened in your life, but I am so so sorry”, and gives him a lilac-scented embrace. Nothing happened to me, he wants to say to her. Nothing happened to me. I’m just a homosexual at a Broadway show.
My copy of the book is full of pages that I bookmarked because I just loved quote after quote. I can see why this won the Pulitzer Prize of Fiction 2018. The writing has this beautiful rhythmic quality to to it. As I’ve said, Greer doesn’t miss a beat throughout and I really enjoyed his style of writing. I also loved the little illustrations at the start of each chapter and the cover is just gorgeous, too.
Greer uses a lot of themes and messages in the book. He talks about romance, love, the loss of it, the consequences of something happening in your past, about being a ‘bad gay’ in the gay community, about wanting to make a stamp in the world around you because if you died, what would be your legacy? What would people remember about you?
This is a book that I enjoyed but I wasn’t overwhelmed about it. I liked Arthur as a character but sometimes I felt that it lost itself a little in the middle (Was that the point?) but overall, I did enjoy it. I think it’d be a great book if you haven’t been on your holiday’s as it’s quite a small read. Oh, and that ending? I loved it. It was a lovely, sweet moment but I think there could have been more leading up to it to have more impact for me.
Have you read Less? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!