What can be said on a book about a white, middle aged, cisgender, blond haired, blue eyed, past his prime twink? Well in the Queer BookClub quite a lot actually!
Firstly, there was a lot of discussion about if Andrew Greer’s book was worthy of a Pulitzer prize. Sadly, none of the Pulitzer committee were present to comment but I did promise to send them a sternly worded email expressing our views!!!
The book Less is, yet another portrait of a melancholy, well-off white gay man. The protagonist Arthur Less a male privelged lovelorn writer on a cathartic voyage of self-discovery and to quote from the book itself “It’s a little hard to feel sorry for a guy like that.”
However, this subject, when handled simplistically, could feel a little narrow in the broader mission to improve LGBTIQ+ representation in fiction. But fortunately, Greer isn’t defending his protagonist. Less — the novel, not the man — is a Trojan horse, exposing the blind spots of the white gay experience.
We were haphazardly taken on a spur-of-the-moment, all-expenses-paid trip around the world — Mexico, Italy, Germany, France, Morocco, India, and Japan — to flee his ex’s impending wedding and finish a stalled manuscript. Along the way there are hookups, awkward reencounters with old lovers, and deep conversations. I loved the travel elements, cringed at the stereotyping of gay men not being able to engage in monogamous relationships, laughed at the lampooning of the literary world, and cheered when love triumphs.
The members of the Queer BookClub were diverse in their views of this book, from frustration at the main character to endearment. And as a middle aged queer man myself, I felt challenged by the mirror it held up to my life and made me question how I’ve allowed my work to define me and at what price.
We gave Less 3 ½ Unicorns 🦄🦄🦄