Less, A Novel Highlights

Perhaps Less, alone, is kidding. Here, looking at his clothes—black jeans for New York, khaki for Mexico, blue suit for Italy, down for Germany, linen for India—costume after costume. Each one is a joke, and the joke is on him:

Andrew Sean Greer, Less: A Novel, loc. 472-474


Afraid of these and almost everything else in the world. Strange, though; because he is afraid of everything, nothing is harder than anything else. Taking a trip around the world is no more terrifying than buying a stick of gum. The daily dose of courage.

Andrew Sean Greer, Less: A Novel, loc. 639-640


Why did he always assume Mexico City would be like Phoenix on a smoggy day? Why did no one tell him it would be Madrid?

Andrew Sean Greer, Less: A Novel, loc. 777-777


“You should be at the beach, like today. You should get stoned and drunk and have loads of sex.” She takes another drag off her cigarette. “I think the saddest thing in the world is a twenty-five-year-old talking about the stock market. Or taxes. Or real estate, goddamn it! That’s all you’ll talk about when you’re forty. Real estate! Any twenty-five-year-old who says the word refinance should be taken out and shot. Talk about love and music and poetry. Things everyone forgets they ever thought were important. Waste every day, that’s what I say.”

Andrew Sean Greer, Less: A Novel, loc. 1005-1010


It’s a summer day, and I want to be wanted more than anything in the world.”    More thunder unsettles Less from his thoughts.

Andrew Sean Greer, Less: A Novel, loc. 1372-1375


“The key to speaking a new language,” she told them, “is to be bold instead of perfect.”

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Alexander Leighton, of the Russian River School. A poet, a playwright, a scholar, and a gay black man who left the overt racism of America for the soigné racism of France.

Andrew Sean Greer, Less: A Novel, loc. 1856-1857


because they’ve survived the booze, the hashish, the migraines. Not that at all. It’s that they’ve survived everything in life, humiliations and disappointments and heartaches and missed opportunities, bad dads and bad jobs and bad sex and bad drugs, all the trips and mistakes and face-plants of life, to have made it to fifty and to have made it here: to this frosted-cake landscape, these mountains of gold, the little table they can now see sitting on the dune, set with olives and pita and glasses and wine chilling on ice, with the sun waiting more patiently than any camel for their arrival. So, yes. As with almost every sunset, but with this one in particular: shut the fuck up. The silence lasts as long as it takes a camel to summit a dune. Lewis notes aloud that today is his twentieth anniversary, but of course his phone won’t work out here, so he’ll have to call Clark when they get to Fez. Mohammed turns back and says, “Oh, but there is Wi-Fi in the desert.” “There is?” Lewis asks. “Oh, of course, everywhere,” Mohammed says, nodding. “Oh good.” Mohammed holds up one finger. “The problem is the password.”

Andrew Sean Greer, Less: A Novel, loc. 2473-2485


“But you broke up with him. Something’s wrong. Something failed.” “No! No, Arthur, no, it’s the opposite! I’m saying it’s a success. Twenty years of joy and support and friendship, that’s a success. Twenty years of anything with another person is a success. If a band stays together twenty years, it’s a miracle. If a comedy duo stays together twenty years, they’re a triumph. Is this night a failure because it will end in an hour? Is the sun a failure because it’s going to end in a billion years? No, it’s the fucking sun. Why does a marriage not count? It isn’t in us, it isn’t in human beings, to be tied to one person forever. Siamese twins are a tragedy. Twenty years and one last happy road trip. And I thought, Well, that was nice. Let’s end on success.”

Andrew Sean Greer, Less: A Novel, loc. 2562-2569


“No! No, Arthur, no, it’s the opposite! I’m saying it’s a success. Twenty years of joy and support and friendship, that’s a success. Twenty years of anything with another person is a success. If a band stays together twenty years, it’s a miracle. If a comedy duo stays together twenty years, they’re a triumph. Is this night a failure because it will end in an hour? Is the sun a failure because it’s going to end in a billion years? No, it’s the fucking sun. Why does a marriage not count? It isn’t in us, it isn’t in human beings, to be tied to one person forever. Siamese twins are a tragedy. Twenty years and one last happy road trip. And I thought, Well, that was nice. Let’s end on success.”

Andrew Sean Greer, Less: A Novel, loc. 2563-2569


“Arthur, I love you, but I will not be coming home. Mark will be over to get some of my things. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to talk about it now. I am not angry. I love you. I am not angry. But neither of us is the man we used to be. Good-bye.”

Andrew Sean Greer, Less: A Novel, loc. 3358-3360


“Arthur, I look at you, and I still see that boy on the beach with the red toenails. Not at first, but my eyes adjust. I see that twenty-one-year-old boy in Mexico. I see that young man in a hotel room in Rome. I see the young writer holding his first book. I look at you, and you’re young. You’ll always be that way for me. But not for anyone else. Arthur, people who meet you now will never be able to imagine you young. They can never go any further back than fifty. It isn’t all bad. It means now people will think you were always a grown-up. They’ll take you seriously. They don’t know that you once spent an entire dinner party babbling about Nepal when you meant Tibet.”

Andrew Sean Greer, Less: A Novel, loc. 3439-3443


white linen shirt and a suit as gray as a cloud.

Andrew Sean Greer, Less: A Novel, loc. 3488-3489