Less Is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer review – a comic odyssey

Greer’s eccentric novelist returns in a quirky sequel to the Pulitzer-winning Less – but is the reprise worthwhile?

Andrew Sean Greer’s Pulitzer-winning 2017 novel Less is a frenetic and often hilarious account of “minor American novelist” Arthur Less navigating zany twists of fate during a series of literary engagements across the globe. Less bounces from Mexico to Morocco to India, jet-setting in a bid to distract himself from romantic turmoil back home. Absurdity and playfulness are the crowd-pleasing hallmarks – and the same is largely true of the follow-up, Less Is Lost.

Our narrator, Freddy Palu, is Less’s boyfriend. He recounts one of Arthur’s bizarre interludes early on, in the course of researching a travel piece. “For local detail and colour [Less] headed to a hot springs recommended by his lodge … He came upon the springs, peeled off his clothes and settled naked into the pool … very quietly but startlingly … an enormous moose came out of the forest, walked over and sat beside him in the pool … Less urinated freely in pure terror. And yet, in those few minutes, as man and moose, they watched the setting sun, and Arthur Less felt chosen … when it left him ... when the moose-moment had passed ... Less accepted that he could survive anything … to hell with doubt and worry.”

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