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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I was so excited to see this book because I absolutely loved Less! This story is a perfect story of finding yourself; it’s filled with so much goodness and made me feel great reading it. This book is wonderful and when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Arthur Less has some issues pop up in life and despite the pain, he goes on a road trip to find himself and it’s such a fun, silly, heart-warming story. Loved it! Great follow up to Less!
This is a quintessential "find yourself" story and I enjoyed the narrator shifts. I also enjoyed the literary nods and asides. I wish I cared as much about the main character in this novel as I cared about Freddy. The people were well-drawn and explored; I found it hard to sympathize with them however.
I went into this a little uncertain about a sequel because the ending of the first book is just so perfect. But this is equally wonderful! The humor and genuine emotion are all on full display here, and anyone who enjoyed the first book will likely find more to love here. It's hard to say who I would recommend this to since it does hinge on reading the first one, but I really enjoyed the focus on grief here in particular and was glad to get to spend more time with these characters.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
Perfect follow up to his first novel! Love Andrew Sean Greer's books and cannot recommend this one enough!!
I loved Less and was so looking forward to the continuation of Arthur Less’s story. To see how things turned out for Arthur and Freddy and most importantly what they each learned from their adventure. Unfortunately, the answer seems to be… their relationship has gone nowhere and they have learned nothing. Less is Lost reads like an anemic rehash of the first book where Less is once again on another road trip to make money and he and Freddy are once again questioning their commitment to one another. It is never clear, however, what the problem is in their relationship that they are trying to work out. They seem to be in love (or at least that’s what they say) but what makes them so “uncertain” about each other… other than the necessity of the plot? Yes, Less spends the book ruminating on his “daddy issues” but is that what is ruining their relationship? Part of the problem is that we never get to see Less and Freddy happy. We never see their relationship when it’s working, so we have nothing to compare to when it’s not working. And similarly, it’s hard to get the sense of what brings them the clarity in the end that they do, in fact, belong together. Another part of the problem is that structurally this book feels as aimless and lost as Less is himself. Perhaps that was intentional but the experience of reading this book is like constantly trying to squint to get the sense of what you’re seeing because otherwise everything is blurry and unfocused. Finally, and this is a small thing, it was kind of irksome that the mcguffin set up in the first act (Less needs money to pay the rent lest they get evicted) goes completely unresolved at the end. Are we meant to think that all they need is each other and that their financial and residency problems are of lesser concern? If so, then why have we been rooting for Arthur this whole time to pay the rent so they can keep their home? All in all, it was fun spending time with these characters again but I wished there was more forward momentum in their story.
I loved these characters in Greer's Less, I truly did. But I think Less's adventure in Less Is Lost takes shine away from the character. While moments here and there were laugh-out-loud funny, it wasn't enough to overcome the bland plot and the consistent question of But why? I did not enjoy this, and I was really hoping to.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publishers at Hachette for allowing me an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
When I saw Arthur Less was coming back, I was giddy. Surely this was what the narrator of Greer's 2017 Pulitzer Prize-novel felt as he saw the title character approaching him up the walk at the end of the novel. However, when I was allowed a copy, the anxiety set in.
I count myself among the many readers for whom Arthur Less is a much-beloved character. If Arthur Less were part of Gen Z rather than a 50-something Gen X-er, Book Tok-ers would be calling him a cinnamon roll, adopting him as their child, and proclaiming a willingness to die for him.
But Less is more than Less. Greer won the Pulitzer for the way his deft prose captured ... well, I could go on about this Everyman, who feels the pain of being less in a beautiful, wonderful and brutal world. But reading Greer's book was more a visceral experience. He makes you feel what he's trying to say and trying to describe Greer's book in words not Greer's diminishes the work. You just have to roll around in it like a dog experiencing the ecstasy of trying to work an amazing smell into his very being.
I expected to binge this book in one sitting the day I got it, but I kept putting it off and putting it off because... what if this time Less was ... less? What if Greer lost something in Less is Lost and ended up ruining the first book? What if he just ended up rewriting the first book? These are always the dangers with sequels. The premise this time is that instead of fleeing around the world to escape the pain of an ex's wedding, Less ends up in an RV across America, chasing an understanding of his (and this country's) past and how to manage the damage left behind in order to figure out how to move forward.
Here's what I can tell you after finishing Less is Lost. Trust Andrew Sean Greer. Grab the book when you can, devour it, and give him another damn Pulitzer already.
I had mixed feelings going into this book, a sequel to 2017’s Less, which I ADORED. On the one hand, I was excited to be back in the world of the bumbling but lovable Arthur Less. On the other hand, the ending of the first book made me so happy, and I didn’t know how I felt about anything that would disrupt the wonderful status quo I’d left behind.
I think that kind of translates to the way I felt throughout the book as a whole. The writing is still phenomenal, funny and touching and somehow delightfully embarrassing, but the story lost a little bit of its sparkle. It didn’t totally repeat the arc of the first book, but there were echoes of it, and then it also added more layers on top of it, which sometimes made it feel pulled in a few too many directions. I think I was also slightly less excited about the travels through the US than around the world, which may just be my own biases.
I still enjoyed it. I would definitely read more of Andrew Sean Greer’s books, but would probably rather read a new story altogether than another Less book next.
Arthur Less is back! And readers who loved his debut appearance will not be disappointed: tho his travels are not world-wide this time, they are every bit as funny and enthralling as they were in the first book. Andrew Sean Greer's gifts are amply on display in a wonderful and wondrous novel which will have you laughing and weeping--sometimes simultaneously. A true gift to the reader, LESS IS LOST is a novel to cherish.
Many thanks to Little Brown and to Netgalley for the pleasure of an early read.