Join us on Monday, October 18th to discuss The Guest List by Lucy Foley. We will meet outdoors, weather permitting, at 6:30pm. In the event of poor weather we will discuss the book virtually via Zoom at 7pm. Contact Elizabeth for details.
In August, Fixed on Fiction met to discuss Less by Andrew Sean Greer.
Who says you can't run away from your problems?
You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can't say yes--it would be too awkward--and you can't say no--it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world.
QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?
ANSWER: You accept them all.
What would possibly go wrong? Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last.
Because, despite all these mishaps, missteps, misunderstandings and mistakes, LESS is, above all, a love story.
A scintillating satire of the American abroad, a rumination on time and the human heart, a bittersweet romance of chances lost, by an author The New York Times has hailed as "inspired, lyrical," "elegiac," "ingenious," as well as "too sappy by half," LESS shows a writer at the peak of his talents raising the curtain on our shared human comedy.
-Summary courtesy of Goodreads.
We had a lively discussion with five thumbs-up votes, 1 so-so, and two thumbs down. Here are some of the initial comments readers made when discussing their reaction to Less-
- Thumbs up! Best book we’ve read in a long time. Sad but poignant moments.
- Loved the witty writing. Great word play.
- Did not finish. Skimmed more than I was actually reading.
- I didn’t like it but it’s hard to say why. I just didn’t care about Arthur. There was no hook to grab my interest.
- I liked it! I loved all of the travel descriptions.
- I liked it. Especially the second half. Loved the descriptions of travel.
- So-so. It was funny, but I really didn’t care what happened to him. I wasn’t invested.
And two readers shared their thoughts via email-
- I would give Less a thumbs up. It was a nice change of pace from other recent novels. I didn’t find it LOL funny but got some chuckles from it. Less reminded me a bit of Voltaire’s Candide. I liked the writing—found it witty and original.
- I loved the book! It was both funny and poignant. Greer is a great writer and reminded me of Michael Chabon with the richness of his descriptions and unorthodox settings. I did guess who the narrator was from fairly close to the beginning--although I wasn't sure if Arthur and Freddy would get back together in the end.
These are just a few comments shared during our discussion. Feel free to share additional thoughts on Less in the comments section below.