Cover Image: Less Is Lost

Less Is Lost

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Member Reviews

3.75 stars

A great followup to Less, although I really recommend you read the earlier book first.

Arthur Less, who has to be one of the more haplessly charming novel characters ever, is back. This is his cross country adventure which is narrated by (absent) partner Freddy. 

Arthur and Freddy are being kicked out of his/their former home following the death of the owner and Arthur's old lover so he is frantically trying to take on literary jobs to come up with some cash. This oddball cycle of work includes accompanying an old author that he interviewed years ago to an appearance in Santa Fe and joining up with a dramatic society in the South that is staging one of his works on a road tour. Neither outing is as innocuous as it sounds. 

The author appearance comes with a madcap assortment of props: a pug named Dolly, an aging camper van named Rosina, and an accidental psychedelic experience in the desert with a group of counterculturists. The old author is mystical and mysterious.

The Southern road tour is even stranger. There is a strong screwball comedy element here which works well, but Less is appealing because he is so emotionally open. A further plot element features his search for the father who abandoned him as a child.

In an over the top ending, the different strands get more or less sorted. There are times when the poignancy and honesty of the writing just shine. Thanks to the author and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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I made sure to read Less first before reading Less is Lost and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND doing this. Both books are near perfection and I cannot recommend both enough. Less was a huge award winner and I hope the same is true for Less is Lost. This is a story to get lost in and to love.
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I loved Less, and this sequel manages to capture some of the charm but none of the magic of that book. The original surprised and delighted me -- and so many other readers -- while this one just seemed like more of the same, despite an excellent and intriguing set up. Still enjoyable to spend time with Less and Freddy but the tension that moved me quickly through Less never showed up here.
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Thanks to the publisher for early access to this book in exchange for an honest review. I loved Less, and though I don't remember much about the plot was excited to be able to read Less is Lost. This book was charming and laugh out loud funny. I was concerned (as another reviewer noted) that this would be a disappointment compared to the first volume but it was not! I particularly loved the passages translated from German.
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I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book.

To be honest, I was not a huge fan of 'Less' and did not need more of Arthur Less in my life. But, surprised as I was to hear that there was a sequel in the works, I was intrigued to see where the author took this character.
And even now that I've finished it, I'm still not sure what to think. My favorite parts of the book were at the start, before he begins is misadventures across America. Seeing this thoroughly sheltered and mediocre man try to deal with the loss of his ex and close friend Robert was very compelling to me. I also appreciated that -- unlike the first book -- it was clear that the author was in on the joke here. I appreciated seeing Less stop 'failing up' like he did throughout 'Less' and confront his privilege. Additionally, the writing was impeccable and there are some wonderful turns of phrase and scenes I will remember for a long time.
But, I still, after two books, cannot fathom why Freddy is with Arthur. It's not that Arthur is particularly bad or unworthy of love, but we never see any reason why they are together. For Freddy to be narrating these stories with so much affection (even at a distance), I need to believe they're connected in some way that has not been made clear. Also, the whole premise of this book is that Less goes on this tour to save their home, but a) in the end he ends up making no money and this question is left unresolved, and b) the tour ends up being entirely a case of mistaken identity, but it's not explained how or why his agent put him in this position. 
So, I have to sadly say that the book didn't hugely work for me. But, with the wonderful writing and a character many found to be endearing, I am sure this book will find a good audience, particularly among those who enjoy this sort of comedy-of-errors satire. 

My rating 7/10
I will post a review on my blog aimed at helping those who are likely to enjoy it more than I did before the publication date.
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Less was a surprise top-10 book of the year for me when I first read it in 2018 so I was delighted to learn a sequel was coming out. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC!

This novel reads a bit as Less: The Domestic Version; unlike the first book where Less travels around the globe in an attempt to distract himself from heartbreak, this story sees Less travelling across the US in an attempt to avoid a pending financial crisis. Freddy is once again the narrator (although we see more of him and his own experiences in this story, since there isn't the "unknown narrator" plot device from the first volume).

Overall this story was a delight to read-Greer's writing is as good as the first book, with a bit more laugh-out-loud humor in this one. Less is just an enjoyable character to spend time with. The emotional impact of this one didn't hit quite as hard; it was just another fun adventure with familiar characters, not that I think it particularly needed to be more than that. My one main criticism is probably because I re-read Less immediately before this one so it was very fresh in my mind, but there were some aspects that seemed as though the book was written for a new audience who hadn't read Less, but also didn't necessarily work for that audience, if that makes sense. There's a lot of recap at the beginning which you wouldn't need if you were familiar with the first book, but there's also some references that won't make any sense to you if you DIDN'T read the first book. It throws the pacing a bit (especially toward the beginning of the story) as though it's not sure how to tie itself into the first one-as the story progresses, the flow of the story smooths out.

If you enjoyed the first book or are looking for a lighthearted read, can absolutely recommend this one. For me it didn't live up to the emotional jolt of the first one, but still a quick and pleasurable read.
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"Less is Lost" by Andrew Sean Greer is the follow-up to the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winning novel "Less". Written in the same sharp and satirical prose, the reader is greeted again by the delightful and at times awkward, Arthur Less.
Now in a long-term relationship with the younger Freddy Pelu from Greer's first novel, Less again finds himself adrift and unsure about his future following the death of an old partner and friend, and some unexpected financial woes that come along with it. 
In what will surely be known as "Lessian" fashion, "Less is Lost" follows Arthur Less on another trip, but this time a road trip across America as he tries to find a solution to his financial troubles, and work through the grief of the loss of his ex-partner and friend Robert. 
Get ready for awkward encounters and mishaps at a hot spring, philosophical and heartwarming talks after chance encounters, and surprisingly quite a few scenes that deal with racism in American and the privilege of being white and upper class in America.
Greer balances his trademark dry, satirical humour on our human existence and aging with poignant and philosophical insights on loss, aging, and what it means to be in love.
A fun and heartwarming follow-up for fans of "Less", this sequel can easily be read and enjoyed by someone who has not had the chance to read the first book.
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NOTE: I was given early access to the arc in exchange for writing an impartial review. Thank you NetGalley and Little Brown and Company. Publication: September 20, 2022.

LESS IS LOST is an intelligent, perceptive, and lighthearted glimpse into the middle age years of a San Francisco based writer. (Not unlike the author himself.) And further proof as to why Andrew Sean Greer won a Pulitzer Prize. I gave this one four stars on Goodreads.

LESS IS LOST is essentially a sequel to Greer's bestseller, LESS (2017), the story of Arthur Less, a fiftyish, marginally successful writer, who travels the world, full of insecurities and angst but also contemplating true love. LESS IS LOST picks up Less’s story several years later, taking him on a financially-motivated cross-country trip. But, this time, instead of Less as narrator, this book is written from the perspective of Less’s current partner, Freddy.

At the start of this novel, Freddy is secluded in Maine, attempting to write his own novel, while Less remains at their home in San Francisco, learning about the death of his former lover. That event triggers Less’s trip and I won’t say more about the plot which follows Less on that trip.

With Greer, it’s not the story or the action that holds my interest. As with LESS, it’s Greer’s distinctive voice. Here again is the quirky irreverence, self-deprecation, and clever humor that I associate with this author. I often find myself smiling as I read. Greer has a gift for assembling just the right words to point out the ridiculous, self-importance writers too often attach to themselves. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to delve into Less’s damaged but lovable psyche. He as human a character as you can find in any book, just as flawed as the rest of us.
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I could happily keep reading about Arthur Less's adventures. Less was an unexpected delight, and now Less is Lost continues his story. I'm not quite sure all the parts of the story fit together, mostly because until the last 20 pages, I did not realize what the book was trying to do...but I so love spending time with Less that it almost doesn't matter.

Voice and tone are everything here. Less can be a ridiculous figure, but Andrew Sean Greer is compassionate in sending him up. There are hints of pain and darkness in his past--this story spends a good deal of time hinting at what he went through as a fatherless gay teen living in the Northeast in the Reagan years--but he has a delightful resiliency, one the borders on naivete without quite crossing over.

He's a charming, delightful character in a charming book that almost comes together. A purposeful plot is almost besides the point, though, and Less is Lost is well worth the read.
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If you enjoyed the first book, you should love this one as well. 

Arthur Less is back. The first book saw Less running from his problems. This book shows Less still running, but this time, to solve his problems. In Less is Lost, we see Arthur traveling cross country, doing his best to make enough money to fix his financial issues that arose after the death of dear friend. This book seems to be told from the viewpoint of Freddy, though the reader is only reminded of that periodically. Instead, it's easy to forget about Freddy and just imagine that Arthur is telling us everything. 

Andrew Sean Greer has a way with words that just draws the reader in. Long chapters can be daunting, but they flew by. Greer writes in a way that creates movies in your head and it's just lovely.

Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for this ARC of Less is Lost.
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If you are a reader who enjoyed the first book, I think you’ll also like this. It’s more of the same: Hyper-empathetic characters, pretty well-timed and decent comedy beats, warm and fuzzy, kind of toothless, not overly prescriptive but with a definite point it attempts to make. It is nice to spend time with Less again, just because I like the character quite a bit. He’s a bit clueless and messy and earnest. It’s a combination that makes him a fun protagonist.

Some of the issues in the book are noticeably updated. Being a “bad gay”, on writers writing, juxtaposing queer issues from Less’s past and the present. But not so overtly as to offend anyone. The plot is much more predictable this time around. I think Less benefited a lot from a couple of change-ups that bring a lot of satisfaction. This doesn’t have that, but it’s nice to be in the world again, all the same, I think.

On audio, this is quite good. The same narrator as the first is back and he’s great. He really embodies the prose style and the vibe. On the page, I like the prose quite a bit. Readable and surprisingly good with descriptions that are very organic and suit the style so well.
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I read Less for the second time this year in anticipation of this sequel, Less is Lost. And for the second time, I still laughed, clutched my heart, and again felt endeared and emotional from reading the many sentiments and commentary on (older queer) life. When I had heard other people exclaiming that they did not like Less, I understood why, even though I love it as one of my favourite books. Because what I find with Less, is that it connects with its audience through the small moments that others may see as mundane, but for those who can relate to those moments, it's exponentially more impactful than it would normally be.

All that praise and love to Less to say, I feel differently about Less is Lost. In a way, the initial paragraph was intended to be a contextual lead up to my actual review, when in fact I think I was stalling - something Arthur Less might do himself.

The writing is similar. It's still in the same style, and told in such a way that it feels like you're listening to Freddy Pelu narrate. This time round, it's even explicitly said at the beginning that he's telling this story. There were many times though where I just felt like the story dragged. When I wanted it to just continue, more than one flashback or memory would appear (I know this is still in the same vein as the first book), but this time round I didn't care for them as much.

Perhaps it was the subject matter that really just disinterested me - it was simply another journey for Arthur, but instead of across the world, across America. And I guess that's why I personally, just didn't care. This may connect more with those who live in America than I. 

I think the catalyst that started this journey was a great start and I was intrigued by the idea of this plot's "challenge". But throughout and in the end, it didn't feel like much of a challenge or that anything was really on the line (not an indication of a spoiler, just my perception).

The character of Arthur is still the same ol' Arthur Less, which I'm happy to see again. He is a little older and is a little more mature, but not too much. He's still encountering situations and events that would really only happen to him. He's like a gravitational force for these moments. And I must say, there were still moments where I felt amused, endeared and connected - only this time round, they felt far and few between. 

I think my connection to this book was much less (how ironic) than the first, and it's not to say that the writing is terrible or the characters are flat. The writing is still engaging (other than some of those long long paragraphs) and the characters were all three dimensional and I was still chuckling and smiling throughout. I'm going to just say it came down to subject matter/plot that fell short for me. 

A shoutout and thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC, as well as a physical copy from the kind folks at the publishing company, Little Brown and Company.
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I absolutely loved this sequel to Less. Greer's writing is, as always, joyful, funny, exuberant, intellectual, and moving. (There's even a Moby Dick joke that made me legitimately laugh out loud, which is a feat.)
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Join Arthur Less on a quixotic tour of America in which he visited by a rotating cast of characters. Each experience he has seems to be stranger than the last, and even Less doesn't know what to make of anything anymore.

I found myself enjoying the book, and I was left musing on the prospect of growing older, on what I truly value or will value as I age. It's interesting to visit Less again, but I wasn't as charmed by this book as I was the first. I am not sure if it's because the narrator is told to us so early on, and then his story (which feels unnecessary) is sprinkled in along with Less's. Or if, perhaps, I just didn't feel this second volume was needed when the first had been so pleasant. 

It's a fine book, a quick little palette cleanser as you move from one story to the next, but I am not sure it's anything that will stick with me for the long term.
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I admit I was a bit skeptical when I heard that there would be a sequel to Less, Andrew Sean Greer's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a man running from his problems all around the world. I was particularly skeptical when I heard that the plot of Less Is Lost would once again find our protagonist, Arthur Less, once again running around when faced with problems, but this time around the United States. It sounded far too similar to the original book to be worth anyone's time, but curiosity won out. 

It turns out that Less Is Lost appears to be reactionary in nature: a refutation of the critiques that have been lobbed against Less. Instead of running from his problems, in this book Arthur is running to solve them. If Less was not specifically American, Less Is Lost fixates on America and Americana (even though it doesn't ultimately want to grapple with any of America's inherent complications). If Less was about a white man oblivious to his own privilege bumbling through the world, Less Is Lost is hyper-focused on race to the point that it repeatedly tells you how many people of color are in a room with Arthur Less (but its desperation to avoid the pitfalls of systemic racism make it even more problematic than the original--going so far as to have a black character laugh off the ways in which a white person accidentally stole their opportunities because it was just an accident). Instead of fixing anything, Less Is Lost just makes it worse. 

The best thing about Less is Greer's clever writing, but that is notably absent in Less Is Lost, which doesn't have a plot so much as it ham-handedly comes up with funny-sounding scenarios to humiliate Arthur Less: get Arthur Less on a donkey, have him accidentally take a hallucinogenic, make him wear a poncho, get him to drive a broken-down RV, get his suit muddy and have him inexplicably not change or attempt to clean it for three states, make him wear Walmart clothing, have people keep telling him about a Super Beaver Moon, get him in a car driven by a student driver, have multiple cases of mistaken identity, and more. 

It's exhausting. 

Ultimately, it's difficult to understand why this book exists at all. It was certainly not needed and despite its strenuous efforts, it doesn't fix any of the things that were wrong with Less. In my opinion, it only makes them worse. It's badly plotted, ill-conceived, aggressive in the wrong areas, soft in the wrong areas, almost completely oblivious, convinced of its own cleverness in ways that are entirely undeserved, and worst of all: wholly unnecessary. It doesn't add anything for fans or prove detractors wrong. It just is. 

Your mileage may vary. If you were a fan of Less, you will most likely enjoy this book way more than I did. But I can't see anyone liking this as much as Less or thinking it's anything other than a ham-handed mess (to varying degrees). I certainly can't see anyone believing that this book justifies its own existence.
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Suprisingly, I believe I enjoyed this "sequel" to Less as much or more than Andrew Sean Greer's novel Less, it's predecessor.  Humorous and pogniant, the well told story of Arthur Less continues years after his world trek outlined in the first book.  His life with Freddy has progressed, but the death of his first love, and the official owner of their home, throws him emotionally and financially askew.  A cross country trek and series of mishaps and misuncerstnadings ensue.  Highly recommend.
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I loved this wacky, cross-country trip of Andrew Less. I thoroughly enjoyed "Less" and the sequel did not disappoint. Less is a very lovable character, flaws and all.
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I’m a huge fan of the first “Less” book so I was excited to see a sequel, “Less is Lost” by Andrew Sean Greer. “Less is Lost” is a nice diversion with some heartwarming moments, but it didn’t quite live up to the first book for me. 

The thing I love about “Less” is the laugh out loud funny moments, immediately followed by some statement about life that is so true you have to read it twice and then put the book down to think about it for the rest of the day. The themes in “Less” felt universal, while “Less is Lost” seemed much more centred on the experience of Arthur Less alone. 

The writing is still engaging and the fast paced action keeps you reading, but I found that where I wanted to savour “Less” and make it last, I wanted to power through “Less is Lost” to just know what was happening next. I’m afraid I probably went in to this one with expectations that were too high. If I wasn’t comparing it directly to “Less” I think I would be a lot more enthusiastic about it. It’s still a nice, easy read and the writing is excellent, so it’s worth your time to pick this one up. 

Synopsis: For Arthur Less, life is going surprisingly well: he is a moderately accomplished novelist in a steady relationship with his partner, Freddy Pelu. But nothing lasts: the death of an old lover and a sudden financial crisis has Less running away from his problems yet again as he accepts a series of literary gigs that send him on a zigzagging adventure across the US.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

#lessislost #andrewseangreer #bookreview #momswhoread
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More Less!  Less is Lost is another romp with the very lovable, very flawed, Arthur Less.  The premise of the novel is that Arthur has to earn money quickly to pay off back rent on 'the shack' he shares with his current lover, Freddy, relationship uncertain.  This quest sets his course through the desert southwest, the deep south and finally north along the eastern seaboard where he is haunted by a second author named Arthur Less, his father and an elderly beloved author.  

Andrew Sean Greer has a light touch and can fill the pages with remarkable and implausible plot lines and you won't mind a bit.  There is no new territory here, if you already read Less, just more of the same.  But who doesn't want a second dessert?!  His writing is generous, compassionate and grounded in human emotions.

Many thanks to Netgalley for this advanced reader's copy.
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I really enjoyed Less and was excited to read this new release. It definitely lived up to expectations. I’m looking forward to seeing how people react to and take this new piece of writing by Andrew.
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