Book review: Andrew Sean Greer’s Less is Lost

Less is LostLess is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer
My rating:
4 of 5 stars

I loved ‘Less’ so much that I guess four stars is a fall from five. I wasn’t opposed to a sequel to ‘Less’ but what would it bring to be new, to be engaging? I love Greer’s writing, and find it both immensely readable and at times, simply beautiful. I didn’t find the American adventures quite as compelling as his international ones. There were some fun parts that made me laugh, but I suppose I wasn’t charmed in the same way as being freshly introduced to Arthur Less. The other thing is that I loved (and was surprised) by the mystery of the narrator of the first book; losing this tension felt a bit unsatisfying. My husband hated how the narrator announced too often, ‘I’m Freddy Pelu!’ whereas I found that there were a number of odd descriptions of the race of a character, a sense that Greer wants to do right and be correct about writing in these fraught times but isn’t quite sure how to do so. One description, of an old, Black woman made me think that ‘old’ and ‘Black’ was possibly the least interesting way to say something about someone. Still, I love that Greer wrote a comic novel that was taken seriously as literature, that he was celebrated for it, and that he portrayed gay aging in a way so poignant, relatable and funny, and that goodwill carried over to reading ‘Less is Lost’.

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