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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.