How far can one go to avoid a painful end? The ends of the earth. Literally. In Andrew Sean Greer’s Pulitzer Prize novel Less, an aging writer does exactly that when faced with attending the wedding of his one true love to another. He travels around the world, searching for answers to his own place in the world, meeting up with new lovers and old friends, only to find himself back home where his place in life was where it belonged.
The novel is warm and wonderful and funny, showing that not everyone with money necessarily has their stuff together. The characters are eccentric, true, but a reminder of ourselves as well as those we call friends every day.
March 30 2021
I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to literature. I don’t mean anything like I’ll only read the classics. Don’t get me wrong. I love the classics. At least the ones I’ve read. My snobbishness is defined by the fact that if a book hasn’t made my heart leap in the first chapter or two, I’ll put it down and never pick it back up again. I must admit, though, there are exceptions to that rule.
Fredrik Backman is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read three of his novels now. The most recent one, A Man Called Ove. It’s a novel about a cantankerous old man who just lost his wife to cancer. Ove finds himself lost without her and has managed to push away the world quite effectively. In learning to deal with being alone, he doesn’t expect to find an equally stubborn new neighbor ready to stand up to him as no one has ever done. Ove not only learns to embrace new relationships, but he learns to love all sorts of people, even those he wouldn’t have accepted before. Backman begins his piece like a master weaver. The colors seem unfit at first. But as he tells the story of the main character, the reader sees depth, caring and sacrifice in him. I haven’t cried in an ending to a book in many years. This one did the trick. A recommended must read.