Cover Image: Less Is Lost

Less Is Lost

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Member Reviews

I was somewhat nervous when I saw that Andrew Sean Greer had come out with a sequel to the Pulitzer Prize winning Less.
For context, Less is one of my all-time favourite books. Therefore I went into Less is Lost very apprehensive. I’m pleased to say my worries were unfounded. Like many reviewers said, Less is Lost feels like returning to an old friend. I appreciated the themes that were explored in this book, and I liked the idea of a road trip across the US. Overall great book!
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Arthur Less is back. The titular star of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Less, is being put through the emotional ringer once more by his author Andrew Sean Greer and the results are the same - but same isn’t a bad thing when you’re talking about a best selling, universally praised, gay comedy/drama with a slew of awards including, you know, the afore mentioned Pulitzer!

Fate has conspired to throw Arthur Less’s life a curveball and our eternally bewildered protagonist is sent out on the road with a beloved and cantankerous fantasy author, H.H.H. Mandern, in order to save the home he’s built with his lover Freddy. Less has to change, and as a white, gay man in his 50s, he is resisting. Criss-crossing the country, from literary gig to literary gig, Less transforms, just not in the ways he anticipated.

Early on in the book, Less is asked a question, “What if we’re wrong?... What if the whole idea of America is wrong?” He is then thrust out into the middle of it, unprepared and under-resourced to see for himself. With little more an a single suit and a desperate need to succeed, Less is put into more and more bizarre situations - a very gay fish, very much out of his water - that test him physically, emotionally and perhaps spiritually.

Where the first book explored Arthur’s desire for love, and his insecurity over his own worth, Less is Lost starts to dig into love after the big rom-com moment. Less is older, probably not much wiser, and facing thoughts of mortality all around him - ex-lovers, his father, Mandern - all bringing up the question of what we owe to each other and what is family, and what if we’ve been overlooking the beauty all around us.

Arthur Less is still the charming, ridiculous, wounded mess of a human that readers fell in love with back in 2017. He is still discovering himself, filled with self-deprecating wit and a beguiling lack of self-awareness (his confident, mangled attempts at speaking in German are a joy to read). As one character tells him; “You may not know it, Arthur Less, but you’re full of adventure. You’re a reckless man.” If in 2017 we lived vicariously through Arthur’s desperate adventures, fleeing America for Europe (and in 2017 who didn’t want to flee America) 2022s Arthur is forced to stay and face America as it is - and find his peace on home soil.

The spark that filled the original Less with such joy and relatable anxiety is here in abundance. It’s safe to say if you loved the first book you’ll enjoy this one. Greer has created a sequel that succeeds in doing what we all want from a sequel. The same but not the same. Different without being different. Going deeper without troubling the foundations.

Less is Lost is, unsurprisingly, a sweet return to the arms of a lover who knows you better than you know yourself. It’s a joy to be back here again, and if the book suffers at all, it’s only from the fact that we’re already familiar with the excellence of the writing and the character and our expectations are so much higher this time around. For me, I would happily keep reading Arthur Less’s escapades for years to come.

Less is Lost is released on Sept 20. Pre-order/order now from your local independent bookstore.
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Full of humorous observations and funny situations, this sequel to Less is just as entertaining as the first book. I really enjoyed it. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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What a great follow-up to Less. I love our protagonist and whatever wild situations he finds himself in. Was nice to see a little wrap up of his relationship with his father.
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This was such a great sequel! After loving the first book I wasn’t sure about a sequel but I’m glad to be wrong. I absolutely loved it! Highly recommend!
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Less is Lost is the sequel to Greer’s book Less, which came out in 2017. I read Less last year and enjoyed it enough that when I saw a follow-up, I snatched it up! 

Our protagonist, Arthur Less, is awkward, quirky, and unsure of himself. He is a moderately successful writer who is regularly mistaken for another author with the same name. In the first book, Arthur is facing both his 50th birthday and the marriage of his ex-partner Freddy, so he decides to fill his calendar with all the invitations he would have otherwise rejected. He leaves on a whirlwind trip around the world—all to avoid facing his problems.

The second book presents Arthur with different, but familiar, problems and he finds himself on a road trip across the US in an old conversion van. Arthur travels to try to raise money to save the home he shares with his partner, and along the way, he faces heartbreak and grief as well as hilarious misunderstandings, ridiculous situations, and his own demons.

I liked Less is Lost even more than the first book! I felt a kinship with Arthur as he sets out to find himself and figure out what he wants in his life, all while dealing with a variety of troubles. This book is about identity, resilience, and choosing to love.
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I liked it but I almost feel like Less didn't need a sequel. The first book was good, satirical, original, kept me laughing. This was was, I hate to say it, but sad. Maybe a little lost... It was also too predictable after the first one, and having the narrator be more of a character this time, knowing who it was, was a bit boring. I would almost have enjoyed hearing this one just from Arthur's point of view, or maybe have had the "surprise" character who showed up at the end maybe be the narrator more like the first one. I don't know. It was enjoyable. Just not as much as Less.
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Having read and enjoyed "Less', I was excited to read the further adventures of this lovable character. This novel took me by surprise when I realized the narration was flipped on its head a bit. Going on a journey with Less truly makes me feel like I know him and he is telling me his story. I felt his frustration and pain despite the fact that I am a straight woman librarian. But the world of books and writing clearly has appeal to me, of course. 

Once again, this is a book that does not need my endorsement because everyone fell in love with Less and they will do it again with this book.
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The same Less I read and loved a few years ago, only now slightly older and back in America. A rare time when the sequel follows through just as much as the original.
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Actual rating 3.5 stars.

I’ve had Less is Lost on my ARC shelf for months, and I kept procrastinating. Because I requested this book on a whim but hadn’t read its prequel yet. So I bought Less intending to read it soon. It didn’t happen. I just kept picking up other books. So two months before its release, I made a decision. I’d read Less is Lost without reading Less. And how did that turn out?

Quite well, to be honest. I started reading and immediately got hooked on the story, and there was not a moment that I felt that I missed something. 

Less is Lost is written from his partner Freddie’s point of view, while Freddie is not with Less most of the time. This way of writing is refreshing, and I felt close to Freddie’s feelings while I constantly experienced what Less was doing (from a more distant point of view). 

I really liked the story, and giggles escaped my mouth more than once. Less’ adventures were quite ridiculous at times, and there were a few moments when I raised my brows and rolled my eyes because that particular scene was just a little too much. Overall, I really liked the story and recommend it to all of you who need an escape and want to read a book that’s not too long and in a different structure than usual. Even if you haven’t read its prequel!
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Less is one of my favorite books, possibly ever. It made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me highlight several passages, and write little notes in the margins. That said, I wasn't too sure on what a sequel would entail. I liked Arthur's resolution, and it didn't feel as if it needed more.
I, however, fell in love with Arthur to the point where I did want more. And Greer delivered indeed.
With the same beautifully expressive and melancholic language, we follow Arthur Less in yet another trip, this time across the USA. Although, it was definitely a smaller range than the world-wide trip of the first book, it covered a lot of ground in terms of Less' character development and love story. I loved getting to know these characters more and more.
All said, if Arthur keeps traveling to more places, I'll be sure to follow.
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You could give me a hundred snippets of the most ordinary day in Arthur Less life and I’d want to read them all. I missed him so much and am sad this book is over. I have thoughts that are to come but overall Less continues to be my happy book.
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Less is Lost features the same main character as in the novel Less.  This time, instead of traveling around the world, he is traveling around the USA.  He's chasing the money that he needs to save his home.  Everything seems uncertain for Less, his relationship with his boyfriend, his ability to save his home, where he's going next, and his relationship with is largely absent father.  I enjoyed this novel and the writing style, but I didn't find it as funny as I found the original novel, Less.  Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy in return for an honest review.
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I wasn’t sure if “Less” could be topped. It’s the typical just let the first one be, but I was surprised. Such a great book with a great perspective
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Thank you to Little Brown and Company for providing me with an ARC! 

Less is Lost is the followup to the Pulitzer Prize winning Less by Andrew Sean Greer. The story follows our hero Arthur Less, as he travels across America on a tour to raise money to save his home. It continues to be narrated by Less's partner, Freddie Pelu. Arthur travels across America, in quaint towns, and meets a new cast of characters. 

I have to admit, I adored Less, so it was going to be difficult to match my expectations going into this book. I enjoyed the places Arthur traveled to, but I didn't connect with the internal motivation the same way I connected to Less. In Less is Lost, Arthur's struggle revolves around his relationship with his father, rather than with his partner's. It is of course, written in the same dazzling style that ASG has perfected. Anyone who loved Less, will likely enjoy this book as it allows us to re-enter the world of Arthur Less. 

3.5 stars total, rounded up
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Oh, the curse of the sequel! I'm one of those people who read "Less is Lost" by Andrew Sean Greer without (gasp!) reading "Less" first. 

Yes, it can be done; no, it doesn't lessen the experience of discovering Arthur Less.

Arthur Less is a writer in his fifties, white and gay, who embarks on a book tour across America. He needs to get the money to keep his San Francisco bungalow (the past rent accumulated.) In a beat-up camper van, Rosina, which Less inherited from an old writer, together with the pug (the pug, Dolly, is only temporarily Less's sweet traveling companion and gets reunited with her owner), he travels from California to Delaware, his home state.

"To be honest, it is hard to picture Arthur Less in America at all. His awkwardness abroad seems natural; here, it seems vexing. In thoroughly American settings – a football stadium, a beer-and-television bar, a railroad-car dinner – where most citizens relax among their own kind, finally free of foreign entanglements, Less sits bolt upright, looking as he were not actually there. Place him in a wheat field, for instance, and he seems to be added in postproduction."

I must say I became a big fan of Less. His travels are told through the eyes of his lover, Freddy Pelu, who has patiently awaited our protagonist's return, but their time apart gives Freddy time to reflect on the nature of their love. As for Less himself, he's always unsure if he really deserves to be loved – abandoned by his father, he often feels unworthy of affection and generally out of place.

America opens for Less in many ways, with places and people at bars, RV parks, and theatrical performances, from the Mojave Desert to Washington D.C. I really like all the different personalities we saw with Less. It felt very natural - those conversations with strangers, when often just one sentence, one word, nonchalantly spoken, touched Less and us, the readers, on a profoundly humane level.

I'm so glad I met  Less and could smile with him, search for friendly souls along his American journey and finally discover what was worth taking a trip across America. Now it's time to meet Arthur Less and Freddy Pelu in Andrew Sean Greer's Pulitzer-winning first novel;  it's already waiting on my bookshelf.
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Less is back! Now with a moustache nobody notices. Greer's followup to his Pulitzer prize winning novel "Less" enables us to follow up with a favorite character to see if he finally has his life together. Well, yes and no. His hilarious life of small slights and misunderstandings as he flails through life contiinues to make me laugh and nod my head in understanding.
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I was a bit nervous when I heard this was a sequel to Less, which like many readers, I absolutely loved. I worried it didn't need a sequel, that this second offering might tarnish the original. Well, after having read LESS IS LOST, I'm thankful that my concerns were misplaced. 

From the beginning of this meandering, blundering, and ultimately redemptive road trip, we are in excellent hands with Greer. He has a wonderful way of making the political human and reminding us of what it means to be a citizen. The love story also comes across as very realistic in its ups and downs. 

Familiarity with the characters from Less is certainly not required, but would likely be helpful to enrich your understanding of LESS IS LOST.

Ultimately, LESS IS LOST is a worthy follow-up from an accomplished novelist. It has cemented my adoration of Greer's writing. Highly recommended for fans of realistic, heartwarming, smart novels.
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A worthy follow-up to "Less", which works as most sequels do and has the same strengths, and weaknesses, as most sequels.  It is a continuation of a good story, starts out strong, revisits the characters we know and love, while trying to gently break new ground without breaking the foundation from which it was built.  The two novels could easily be read together as one long book.  Whether this one works as a standalone, I'm not sure. The plot is simple enough that you need no prior knowledge of "Less", but I'm not sure how much you would care about Arthur and Freddy having not read the first book. 

"Less is Lost" takes our fictional author Arthur Less on a rather implausible road trip across America.  There's plenty of humor and wry observation in his travels, all in the same vein as "Less".   If you liked it in that book, you'll like it here as well.  Imbedded throughout are nuggets of wisdom about growing old - particularly about growing old with someone else.  I highlighted quite a few brilliant passages.  Greer's talent is in writing a single sentence that can take your breath away is still there.   What does it take to have that final revelation of what your life is about?  Endless miles.  A train rushing down the track.  Years and years of different places, many faces, and loves and tears and misunderstandings and beloved pets and bonded siblings and memories and apologies and forgiveness.  It all gathers and rushes in and hits us when we least expect it. Greer is on the verge of something truly profound...

But, then.  Then there are some odd detours along the way, both literally and figuratively, which attempt to bring race relations among other things into the narrative. This is a road trip across America, and America is not just white middle-aged writers in suits, and Greer wants to reflect that much.  An admirable idea, for sure, but in execution it seems forced, or at least not nearly as graceful as when his writing is in its sweet spot.  Entire subplots feel like a response to the latest legislation sweeping America trying to ban any history that makes white people uncomfortable.  Unfortunately, it still comes across as uncomfortable - not because it isn't true - but because it feels shoehorned into a book that is mostly trying to be wistful and mildly funny.  As if it were added to provide gravitas to the proceedings and a middle finger to Red-state censors.  I'm all for that idea, but it seems reactionary to contemporary events rather than organic to the storytelling.  I had no idea what to make of the voice he gives to the non-white characters. I'll leave that for others to review. 

 All of this was coupled (also uncomfortably) with an underlying theme that we all need to take cross-country trips to experience people in small town American diners, to understand their  (allegedly) misunderstood lives and prejudices. In the end, I was unsure what this novel wanted to be.  It brings up these important issues in such superficial ways it often smells like peak white liberal privilege to me- acknowledging the inherent conflicts in this country without making any real point or taking any stand.  Was that itself the point?  That there is no point - that is just who we are and we need to either continue growing old together or get divorced as a nation?  Not a strong enough point of view, in my opinion, to support the middle part of the story.  All of this seems to be at the expense of the real meat of the novel - the growing pains of his romantic relationship and understanding how his past holds so much power over his present.  

What I personally wanted it to be was a story about Arthur's relationship with is long lost father, his sister, his longtime partner.  How the fear of abandonment has dictated almost every choice he has ever made.  All of that is there and bookends the novel wonderfully. But I felt like there was a missed opportunity to really explore the Less family and how the actions and decisions of our parents, and all the baggage of our family life, drags behind us and into every relationship that follows.  We can't ever leave it behind, even after examining it and owning it.   Greer seems ready to dive into this ocean, he wades into it, but then gets swept back to shore with a tide of other ideas.  It's in there, but gets obscured by the road trip antics and twist of mistaken identity near the end that isn't really believable.   

All in all, I recommend it to fans of "Less" and of Greer.   There is a lot to love and ponder. I don't think it reaches the high bar he set for himself, but sequels rarely do.   I hope his next project really digs deeper into the complex ideas he casually touches upon here.  There is another book to be written about them, but perhaps without trying to simultaneously bring Arthur Less's endearing but clumsy life into the mix.
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Less is still not my favorite protagonist. I struggled to get through this one. I appreciate the arc but I do not plan to buy a copy. Greer’s writing is great but I just didn’t like the characters.
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