Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Sean Greer’

‘Less’ by Andrew Sean Greer – A Gay Guy Novel that Even a Non-Gay Guy Can Appreciate


‘Less’ by Andrew Sean Greer   (2017) – 261 pages

Can a novel about a gay guy be entirely fascinating to a non-gay guy?  I wasn’t sure that it was possible until I read ‘Less’ by Andrew Sean Greer.

Certainly I have read and admired many gay male writers, most closeted and a few not.  However, I have not read or been impressed by scarcely any out-and-out gay guy novels.  Until ‘Less’.    Andrew Sean Greer might be an Oscar Wilde for today.

It helps that ‘Less’ happens to be one of the most humorous novels that I have read.  Greer’s type of humor is universal, a guy laughing at himself and those around him as they sometimes make utter fools of themselves with their outrageous behavior.  Both gays and non-gays can relate to that.

Our hero, Andrew Less, is an author, and ‘Less’ is very much a novel about literary matters.  For many years Andrew lived with a famous older male poet, and Andrew then went off and had a ten-year fling with a younger guy who is now getting married to a new boyfriend.  So now Andrew is on his own.  He has written a couple of novels that didn’t sell all that well.  His third novel has just been rejected by the publisher. In fact, they hold “An Evening with Andrew Less”, and no one shows up.  Much of the humor in ‘Less’ is self-deprecating but high-spirited.

Andrew Less embarks on a trip around the world with stops in Mexico, Italy, Germany, France, Morocco, India, and Japan.

In Italy, he is to be given a literary prize. His second novel has been “super-translated” into Italian.  That means that the translator has greatly improved upon the original for the translation.

In Berlin, Andrew does a reading along with a Russian author for Cold War Nostalgia Night in a nightclub which has a Bond girl and Dr. Strangelove chic, and he there realizes he is boring people to death with his bad German.

In Germany and France, there are unexpected romances.

In Morocco, Andrew comes to the startling revelation that the main character of his recently rejected novel is not a hero but a fool, and Andrew busily begins to rewrite the novel from that perspective.  We readers just know that Andrew is on the right track now.

When author Greer senses that we may be getting bored by a scene or a remembrance, he quickly switches to something totally different. This is a strategy that I appreciate.

‘Less’ is very much a winning over-the-top novel.


Grade :   A


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