The Less of the title refers to Greer’s main character, Arthur Less. Just shy of turning fifty, Less travels practically around the world to avoid attending the wedding of his long-time gay lover, Freddy. With jobs, award ceremonies and/or teaching assignments in New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Morocco and Japan, Less also stops off at a retreat in India to edit his fourth work of fiction which was harshly criticized by his agent and publisher.
The travels, the back story and the people Arthur meets as he goes from country to country are fun and interesting, but the crux of the novel is Arthur Less. While trying to avoid the big 5-0 and news of his ex lover’s wedding, Greer depicts him as a man of contrasts-self-effacing but willing to be daring, wanting love but avoiding involvement, not wanting to think about the past but afraid of the future. Arthur Less, his life and his journey, make for a bittersweet story.