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Less (Winner of the Pulitzer Prize)
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A New York Times Notable Book of 2017
A Washington Post Top Ten Book of 2017
A San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten Book of 2017
Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, the Lambda Award, and the California Book AwardWho says you can’t run away from your problems? You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. You can’t say yes–it would be too awkward–and you can’t say no–it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world.QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?ANSWER: You accept them all.What would possibly go wrong? Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last.Because, despite all these mishaps, missteps, misunderstandings and mistakes, Less is, above all, a love story.A scintillating satire of the American abroad, a rumination on time and the human heart, a bittersweet romance of chances lost, by an author The New York Times has hailed as “inspired, lyrical,” “elegiac,” “ingenious,” as well as “too sappy by half,” Less shows a writer at the peak of his talents raising the curtain on our shared human comedy.“I could not love LESS more.”–Ron Charles, The Washington Post“Andrew Sean Greer’s Less is excellent company. It’s no less than bedazzling, bewitching and be-wonderful.”-–Christopher Buckley, The New York Times Book Review
Less at First
From where I sit, the story of Arthur Less is not so bad.
Look at him: seated primly on the hotel lobby’s plush round sofa, blue suit and white shirt, legs knee-crossed so that one polished loafer hangs free of its heel. The pose of a young man. His slim shadow is, in fact, still that of his younger self, but at nearly fifty he is like those bronze statues in public parks that, despite one lucky knee rubbed raw by schoolchildren, discolor beautifully until they match the trees. So has Arthur Less, once pink and gold with youth, faded like the sofa he sits on, tapping one finger on his knee and staring at the grandfather clock. The long patrician nose perennially burned by the sun (even in cloudy New York October). The washed-out blond hair too long on the top, too short on the sides—portrait of his grandfather. Those same watery blue eyes. Listen: you might hear anxiety ticking, ticking, ticking away as he stares at that clock, which unfortunately is not ticking itself. It stopped fifteen years ago. Arthur Less is not aware of this; he still believes, at his ripe age, that escorts for literary events arrive on time and bellboys reliably wind the lobby clocks. He wears no watch; his faith is fast. It is mere coincidence that the clock stopped at half past six, almost exactly the hour when he is to be taken to tonight’s event. The poor man does not know it, but the time is already quarter to seven.
As he waits, around and around the room circles a young woman in a brown wool dress, a species of tweed hummingbird, pollinating first this group of tourists and then that one. She dips her face into a cluster of chairs, asking a particular question, and then, dissatisfied with the answer, darts away to find another. Less does not notice her as she makes her rounds. He is too focused on the broken clock. The young woman goes up to the lobby clerk, then to the elevator, startling a group of ladies overdressed for the theater. Up and down Less’s loose shoe goes. If he paid attention, perhaps he would have heard the woman’s eager question, which explains why, though she asks everyone else in the lobby, she never asks it of him:
“Excuse me, but are you Miss Arthur?”
The problem—which will not be solved in this lobby—is that the escort believes Arthur Less to be a woman.
In her defense, she has read only one novel of his, in an electronic form that lacked a photo, and found the female narrator so compelling, so persuasive, that she was certain only a woman could have written it; she assumed the name to be one of those American gender curiosities (she is Japanese). This is, for Arthur Less, a rare rave review. Little good this does him at the moment, sitting on the round sofa, from whose conical center emerges an oiled palm. For it is now ten minutes to seven.
Arthur Less has been here for three days; he is in New York to interview famous science fiction author H. H. H. Mandern onstage to celebrate the launch of H. H. H. Mandern’s new novel; in it, he revives his wildly popular Holmesian robot, Peabody. In the world of books, this is front-page news, and a great deal of money is jangling behind the scenes. Money in the voice that called Less out of the blue and asked if he was familiar with the work of H. H. H. Mandern, and if he might be available for an interview. Money in the messages from the publicist instructing Less what questions were absolutely off the table for H. H. H. Mandern (his wife, his daughter, his poorly reviewed poetry collection). Money in the choice of venue, the advertisements plastered all over the Village. Money in the inflatable Peabody battling the wind outside the theater. Money even in the hotel Arthur has been placed in, where he was shown a pile of “complimentary” apples he can feel free to take anytime, day or night, you’re welcome. In a world where most people read one book a year, there is a lot of money hoping that this is the book and that this night will be the glorious kickoff. And they are depending on Arthur Less.
And still, dutifully, he watches the stopped clock. He does not see the escort standing woefully beside him. He does not see her adjust her scarf, then exit the lobby through the washing machine of its revolving doors. Look at the thinning hair at the crown of his head, the rapid blink of his eyes. Look at his boyish faith.
Once, in his twenties, a poet he had been talking with extinguished her cigarette in a potted plant and said, “You’re like a person without skin.” A poet had said this. One who made her living flaying herself alive in public had said that he, tall and young and hopeful Arthur Less, was without skin. But it was true. “You need to get an edge,” his old rival Carlos constantly told him in the old days, but Less had not known what that meant. To be mean? No, it meant to be protected, armored against the world, but can one “get” an edge any more than one can “get” a sense of humor? Or do you fake it, the way a humorless businessman memorizes jokes and is considered “a riot,” leaving parties before he runs out of material?
Whatever it is—Less never learned it. By his forties, all he has managed to grow is a gentle sense of himself, akin to the transparent carapace of a soft-shelled crab. A mediocre review or careless slight can no longer harm him, but heartbreak, real true heartbreak, can pierce his thin hide and bring out the same shade of blood as ever. How can so many things become a bore by middle age—philosophy, radicalism, and other fast foods—but heartbreak keeps its sting? Perhaps because he finds fresh sources for it. Even foolish old fears have never been vanquished, only avoided: telephone calls (frenetically dialing like a man decoding a bomb), taxicabs (fumbling the tip and leaping out as from a hostage situation), and talking to attractive men or celebrities at parties (still mentally rehearsing his opening lines, only to realize they are saying their good-byes). He still has these fears, but the passage of time solved them for him. Texting and email saved him from phones forever. Credit card machines appeared in taxis. A missed opportunity could contact you online. But heartbreak—how can you avoid it except to renounce love entirely? In the end, that is the only solution Arthur Less could find.
Perhaps it explains why he gave nine years to a certain young man.
I have neglected to mention that he has, on his lap, a Russian cosmonaut’s helmet.
But now a bit of luck: from the world outside the lobby, a chime rings out, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, causing Arthur Less to pop out of his seat. Look at him: staring at his betrayer, the clock, then running to the front desk and asking—at last—the essential temporal question.
“I don’t understand how you could think I was a woman.”
“You are such a talented writer, Mr. Less. You tricked me! And what are you carrying?”
“This? The bookstore asked me to—”
“I loved Dark Matter. There is a part that reminded me of Kawabata.”
“He’s one of my favorites! The Old Capital. Kyoto.”
“I am from Kyoto, Mr. Less.”
“Really? I’ll be there in a few months—”
“Mr. Less. We are having a problem…”
This conversation takes place as the woman in the brown wool dress leads him down a theater hallway. It is decorated with a lone prop tree, the kind the hero hides behind in comedies; the rest is all brick painted glossy black. Less and his escort have run from the hotel to the event space, and he can already feel the sweat turning his crisp white shirt into a transparency.
Why him? Why did they ask Arthur Less? A minor author whose greatest fame was a youthful association with the Russian River School of writers and artists, an author too old to be fresh and too young to be rediscovered, one who never sits next to anyone on a plane who has heard of his books. Well, Less knows why. It is no mystery. A calculation was made: what literary writer would agree to prepare for an interview and yet not be paid? It had to be someone terribly desperate. How many other writers of his acquaintance said “no chance”? How far down the list did they go before someone said: “What about Arthur Less?”
He is indeed a desperate man.
From behind the wall, he can hear the crowd chanting something. Surely the name H. H. H. Mandern. In the past month, Less has privately gorged on H. H. H. Mandern’s works, those space operettas, which at first appalled him, with their tin-ear language and laughable stock characters, and then drew him in with their talent for invention, surely greater than his own. Less’s new novel, a serious investigation of the human soul, seems like a minor planet compared with the constellations invented by this man. And yet, what is there to ask him? What does one ever ask an author except: “How?” And the answer, as Less well knows, is obvious: “Beats me!”
The escort is chattering about the theater capacity, the preorders, the book tour, the money, the money, the money. She mentions that H. H. H. Mandern seems to have come down with food poisoning.
“You’ll see,” the escort says, and a black door opens onto a bright clean room where deli meats fan across a folding table. Beside it stands a white-haired lady in shawls, and below her: H. H. H. Mandern, vomiting into a bucket.
The lady turns to Arthur and scans the space helmet: “Who the hell are you?”
New York: the first stop on a trip around the world. An accident, really, of Less trying to find his way out of a sticky situation. He is quite proud he has managed to do so. It was a wedding invitation.
Arthur Less has, for the past decade and a half, remained a bachelor. This came after a long period of living with the older poet Robert Brownburn, a tunnel of love he entered at twenty-one and exited, blinking in the sunlight, in his thirties. Where was he? Somewhere in there he lost the first phase of youth, like the first phase of a rocket; it had fallen, depleted, behind him. And here was the second. And last. He swore he would not give it to anyone; he would enjoy it. He would enjoy it alone. But: how to live alone and yet not be alone? It was solved for him by the most surprising person: his one-time rival Carlos.
If asked about Carlos, Less always calls him “one of my oldest friends.” The date of their first encounter can be pinpointed precisely: Memorial Day, 1987. Less can even remember what each of them wore: he, a green Speedo, Carlos, the same in bright banana. Each with a white-wine spritzer in hand, like a pistol, eyeing the other from across the deck. A song was playing, Whitney Houston wanting to dance with somebody. Shadow of a sequoia falling between them. With somebody who loved her. Oh, to have a time machine and a video camera! To capture thin pink-gold Arthur Less and brawny nut-brown Carlos Pelu in their youth, when your narrator was only a child! But who needs a camera? Surely, for each of them, that scene replays itself whenever the other’s name is mentioned. Memorial Day, spritzer, sequoia, somebody. And each smiles and says the other is “one of my oldest friends.” When of course they hated each other on sight.
Let us take that time machine after all, but to a destination almost twenty years later. Let us land ourselves in mid-2000s San Francisco, a house in the hills, on Saturn Street. One of those creatures on stilts, a glass wall revealing a never-used grand piano and a crowd of mostly men celebrating one of a dozen fortieth-birthday parties that year. Among them: a thicker Carlos, whose longtime lover left him real estate when he died, and who turned those few lots into a property empire, including far-flung holdings in Vietnam, Thailand, even some ridiculous resort Less heard about in India. Carlos: same dignified profile, but no trace anymore of that muscled young man in a banana Speedo. It was an easy walk for Arthur Less, from his little shack on the Vulcan Steps, where he now lived alone. A party; why not? He chose a Lessian costume—jeans and a cowboy shirt, only slightly wrong—and made his way south along the hillside, toward the house.
Meanwhile, imagine Carlos, enthroned in a peacock chair and holding court. Beside him, twenty-five years old, in black jeans, T-shirt, and round tortoiseshell glasses, with dark curly hair: his son.
My son, I recall Carlos telling everyone when the boy first appeared, then barely in his teens. But he was not his son—he was an orphaned nephew, shipped off to his next of kin in San Francisco. How do I describe him? Big eyed, with brown sun-streaked hair and a truculent demeanor in those days, he refused to eat vegetables or to call Carlos anything but Carlos. His name was Federico (Mexican mother), but everybody called him Freddy.
At the party, Freddy stared out the window, where the fog erased downtown. These days he ate vegetables but still called his legal father Carlos. In his suit he was painfully thin, with a concave chest, and, while lacking youth’s verve, Freddy had all of youth’s passions; one could sit back with a bag of popcorn and watch the romances and comedies of his mind projected onto his face, and the lenses of his tortoiseshell glasses swirled with his thoughts like the iridescent membranes of soap bubbles.
Freddy turned at the sound of his name; it was a woman in a white silk suit and amber beads, with a cool Diana Ross demeanor: “Freddy, honey, I heard you were back in school.” What was he studying to be? she asked gently. Proud smile: “A high school English teacher.”
This caused her face to flower. “God, that’s nice to hear! I never see young people going into teaching.”
“To be honest, I think it’s mostly that I don’t like people my age.”
She picked the olive from her martini. “That’ll be hard on your love life.”
“I suppose. But I don’t really have a love life,” Freddy said, taking a long gulp from his champagne, finishing it.
“We just have to find you the right man. You know my son, Tom—”
From beside them: “He’s actually a poet!” Carlos, appearing with a listing glass of white wine.
The woman (courtesy requires introductions: Caroline Dennis, in software; Freddy would come to know her very well) yipped.
Freddy eyed her carefully and gave a shy smile. “I’m a terrible poet. Carlos is just remembering that’s what I wanted to be when I was a kid.”
“Which was last year,” Carlos said, smiling.
Freddy stood silently; his dark curls quivered with whatever shook his mind.
Mrs. Dennis gave a sequined laugh. She said she loved poetry. She had always been into Bukowski “and that bag.”
“You like Bukowski?” Freddy asked.
“Oh no,” said Carlos.
“I’m sorry, Caroline. But I think he’s even worse than I am.”
Mrs. Dennis’s chest flushed, Carlos drew her attention to a painting done by an old pal of the Russian River School, and Freddy, unable to swallow even the vegetables of small talk, stalked to the bar for another champagne.
Arthur Less at the front door, one of those low walls with a white door, concealing the house that drops down the hill behind it, and what will people say? Oh, you look well. I heard about you and Robert. Who is keeping the house?
How could he know that nine years lay beyond that door?
“Hello, Arthur! What is that you’re wearing?”
Twenty years later and still, that day, in that room: old rivals at battle.
Beside him: a young man with curly hair and glasses, standing at attention.
“Arthur, you remember my son, Freddy…”
It was so easy. Freddy found Carlos’s house intolerable and so often, after a long Friday teaching and hitting a happy hour with a few of his college friends, would show up at Less’s, tipsy and eager to crawl into bed for the weekend. The next day would be Less nursing a hungover Freddy with coffee and old movies until Less kicked him out on Monday morning. This happened once a month or so when they first began but grew into a habit, until Less found himself disappointed when one Friday evening, the doorbell never rang. How strange to wake up in his warm white sheets, the sunlight through the trumpet vine, and sense something missing. He told Freddy, the next time he saw him, that he should not drink so much. Or recite such terrible poetry. And here was a key to his house. Freddy said nothing but pocketed the key and used it whenever he liked (and never returned it).
An outsider would say: That’s all fine, but the trick is not to fall in love. They would have both laughed at that. Freddy Pelu and Arthur Less? Freddy was as uninterested in romance as a young person should be; he had his books, and his teaching, and his friends, and his life as a single man. Old, easy Arthur asked nothing. Freddy also suspected that it drove his father nuts that he was sleeping with Carlos’s old nemesis, and Freddy was still young enough to take pleasure in torturing his foster parent. It never occurred to him that Carlos might be relieved to have the boy off his hands. As for Less, Freddy was not even his type. Arthur Less had always fallen for older men; they were the real danger. Some kid who couldn’t even name the Beatles? A diversion; a pastime; a hobby.
Less of course had other, more serious lovers in the years he saw Freddy. There was the history professor at UC–Davis who would drive two hours to take Less to the theater. Bald, red bearded, sparkling eyes and wit; it was a pleasure, for a while, to be a grown-up with another grown-up, to share a phase of life—early forties—and laugh about their fear of fifty. At the theater, Less looked over and saw Howard’s profile lit by the stage and thought: Here is a good companion, here is a good choice. Could he have loved Howard? Very possibly. But the sex was awkward, too specific (“Pinch that, okay, now touch there; no, higher; no, higher; no, HIGHER!”) and felt like an audition for a chorus line. Howard was nice, however, and he could cook; he brought ingredients over and made sauerkraut soup so spicy, it made Less a little high. He held Less’s hand a lot and smiled at him. So Less waited it out for six months, to see if the sex would change, but it didn’t, and he never said anything about it, so I suppose he knew it wasn’t love, after all.
There were more; many, many more. There was the Chinese banker who played the violin and made fun noises in bed but who kissed like he’d only seen it in movies. There was the Colombian bartender whose charm was undeniable but whose English was impossible (“I want to wait on your hand and on your foot”); Less’s Spanish was even worse. There was the Long Island architect who slept in flannel pajamas and a cap, as in a silent movie. There was the florist who insisted on sex outdoors, leading to a doctor’s visit during which Less had to ask for both an STD test and a remedy for poison oak. There were the nerds who assumed Less followed every news item about the tech industry but who felt no obligation to follow literature. There were the politicians sizing him up as for a suit fitting. There were the actors trying him on the red carpet. There were the photographers getting him in the right lighting. They might have done, many of them. So many people will do. But once you’ve actually been in love, you can’t live with “will do”; it’s worse than living with yourself.
No surprise that again and again, Less returned to dreamy, simple, lusty, bookish, harmless, youthful Freddy.
They went on in this way for nine years. And then, one autumn day, it ended. Freddy had changed, of course, from a twenty-five-year-old to a man in his midthirties: a high school teacher, in blue short-sleeved button-ups and black ties, whom Less jokingly called Mr. Pelu (often raising his hand as if to be called on in class). Mr. Pelu had kept his curls, but his glasses were now red plastic. He could no longer fit his old slim clothes; he had filled out from that skinny youngster into a grown man, with shoulders and a chest and a softness just beginning on his belly. He no longer stumbled drunk up Less’s stairs and recited bad poetry every weekend. But one weekend he did. It was a friend’s wedding, and he did show up, tipsy and red faced, leaning into Less as he staggered, laughing, into his mudroom. A night when he clung to Less, radiating heat. And a morning when, sighing, Freddy announced that he was seeing someone who wanted him to be monogamous. He had promised to be, about a month earlier. And he thought it was about time he stayed true to his promise.
Freddy lay on his stomach, resting his head on Less’s arm. The scratch of his stubble. On the side table, his red glasses magnified a set of cuff links. Less asked, “Does he know about me?”
Freddy lifted his head. “Know what about you?”
“This.” He gestured to their naked bodies.
Freddy met his gaze directly. “I can’t come around here anymore.”
“It would be fun. It has been fun. But you know I can’t.”
Freddy seemed about to say something more, then stopped himself. He was silent, but his gaze was that of someone memorizing a photograph. What did he see there? He turned from Less and reached for his glasses. “You should kiss me like it’s good-bye.”
“Mr. Pelu,” Less said. “It’s not really good-bye.”
Freddy put on his red glasses, and in each aquarium a little blue fish swam.
“You want me to stay here with you forever?”
A bit of sun came through the trumpet vine; it checkered one bare leg.
Less looked at his lover, and perhaps a series of images flashed through his mind—a tuxedo jacket, a Paris hotel room, a rooftop party—or perhaps what appeared was just the snow blindness of panic and loss. A dot-dot-dot message relayed from his brain that he chose to ignore. Less leaned down and gave Freddy a long kiss. Then he pulled away and said, “I can tell you used my cologne.”
The glasses, which had amplified the young man’s determination, now magnified his already wide pupils. They darted back and forth across Less’s face as in the act of reading. He seemed to be gathering up all his strength to smile, which, at last, he did.
“Was that your best good-bye kiss?” he said.
Then, a few months later, the wedding invitation in the mail: Request your presence at the marriage of Federico Pelu and Thomas Dennis. How awkward. He could under no circumstances accept, when everyone knew he was Freddy’s old paramour; there would be chuckles and raised eyebrows, and, while normally Less wouldn’t have cared, it was just too much to imagine the smile on Carlos’s face. The smile of pity. Less had already run into Carlos at a Christmas benefit (a firetrap of pine branches), and he had pulled Less aside and thanked him for being so gracious in letting Freddy go: “Arthur, you know my son was never right for you.”
Yet Less could not simply decline the invitation. To sit at home while all the old gang gathered up in Sonoma to drink Carlos’s money—well, they would cackle about him all the same. Sad young Arthur Less had become sad old Arthur Less. Stories would be brought out of mothballs for ridicule; new ones would be tested, as well. The thought was unbearable; he could under no circumstances decline. Tricky, tricky, this life.
Along with the wedding invitation came a letter politely reminding him of an offer to teach at an obscure university in Berlin, along with the meager remittance and the meager time remaining for an answer. Less sat at his desk, staring at the offer; the rearing stallion on the letterhead seemed to be erect. From the open window came the song of roofers hammering and the smell of molten tar. Then he opened a drawer and pulled out a pile of other letters, other invitations, unanswered; more were hidden deep within his computer; still more lay buried beneath a pile of phone messages. Less sat there, with the window rattling from the workers’ din, and considered them. A teaching post, a conference, a writing retreat, a travel article, and so on. And, like those Sicilian nuns who, once a year, appear behind a lifted curtain, singing, so that their families can gaze upon them, in his little study, in his little house, for Arthur Less a curtain lifted upon a singular idea.
My apologies, he wrote on the RSVP, but I will be out of the country. My love to Freddy and Tom.
He would accept them all.
What a ramshackle itinerary he has nailed together!
First: this interview with H. H. H. Mandern. This gets him plane fare to New York City, with two days before the event to enjoy the city, aflame with autumn. And there is at least one free dinner (the writer’s delight): with his agent, who surely has word from his publisher. Less’s latest novel has been living with his publisher for over a month, as any modern couple lives together before a marriage, but surely his publisher will pop the question any day now. There will be champagne; there will be money.
"Less is the funniest, smartest and most humane novel I've read since Tom Rachman's 2010 debut, The Imperfectionists....Greer writes sentences of arresting lyricism and beauty. His metaphors come at you like fireflies....Like Arthur, Andrew Sean Greer's Less is excellent company. It's no less than bedazzling, bewitching and be-wonderful."
—New York Times Book Review
- "Greer is an exceptionally lovely writer, capable of mingling humor with sharp poignancy.... Brilliantly funny.... Greer's narration, so elegantly laced with wit, cradles the story of a man who loses everything: his lover, his suitcase, his beard, his dignity."—Ron Charles, Washington Post
- "Greer's novel is philosophical, poignant, funny and wise, filled with unexpected turns....Although Greer is gifted and subtle in comic moments, he's just as adept at ruminating on the deeper stuff. His protagonist grapples with aging, loneliness, creativity, grief, self-pity and more."—San Francisco Chronicle
"I recommend it with my whole heart."
"A piquantly funny fifth novel."
- "Greer, the author of wonderful, heartfelt novels including The Confessions of Max Tivoli, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells and The Story of a Marriage, shows he has another powerful weapon in his arsenal: comedy. And who doesn't need a laugh right about now?"—Miami Herald
- "Greer elevates Less' picaresque journey into a wise and witty novel. This is no Eat, Pray Love story of touristic uplift, but rather a grand travelogue of foibles, humiliations and self-deprecation, ending in joy, and a dollop of self-knowledge."—National Book Review
- "Dressed in his trademark blue suit, Less adorably butchers the German language, nearly falls in love in Paris, celebrates his birthday in the desert and, somewhere along the way, discovers something new and fragile about the passing of time, about the coming and going of love, and what it means to be the fool of your own narrative. It's nothing less than wonderful."—Book Page
- "Greer's evocations of the places Arthur visits offer zesty travelogue pleasures"—Seattle Times
"Less is perhaps Greer's finest yet.... A comic yet moving picture of an American abroad.... Less is a wondrous achievement, deserving an even larger audience than Greer's bestselling The Confessions of Max Tivoli."
—Booklist, starred review
- "Treat yourself to this book. I missed subway stops. I doubled over in laughter. I experienced more pure reading pleasure than I had in ages. It is hilarious, and wise, and abundantly fun."—Adam Haslett, author of Imagine Me Gone
"I adore this book. It's funny, piquant, bittersweet and so achingly observant about the vanity of writers that it made me squirm in recognition. I'll probably read it again very soon."
—Armistead Maupin, author of Tales of the City
- "Marvelously, unexpectedly, endearingly funny. A love story focused on the erroneous belief that the second half of life will pale in comparison to the first. Guess what? It won't!"—Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad Love Story
- "The most deftly funny romantic comedy I've read in years. If you have a sentimental bone in your body (I have 206), the ending will make you sob little tears of joy."—Nell Zink, author of Mislaid and Nicotine
"A fast and rocketing read with everything I want from a story--moments of high humor, moments of genuine wisdom, sharp insights and gorgeous images. A wonderful, wonderful book!"
—Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
- On Sale
- May 22, 2018
- Page Count
- 272 pages
- Back Bay Books