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‘Less’ may be ‘Lost,’ but Andrew Sean Greer knows exactly who he is

Andrew Sean Greer returns to the life of Arthur Less in ‘Less Is Lost.’ The preceding novel, ‘Less,’ won the Pulitzer Prize in Literature in 2018.
Andrew Sean Greer returns to the life of Arthur Less in ‘Less Is Lost.’ The preceding novel, ‘Less,’ won the Pulitzer Prize in Literature in 2018.

This week on The Write Question, Lauren speaks with Andrew Sean Greer, or “Andy,” about the follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Less.

In the sequel, Less Is Lost, readers return to the life of Arthur Less, a moderately successful writer in a comfortable and loving relationship with (SPOILER ALERT) Freddy Pelu, Arthur’s lover in the first book and his partner now in the second. Things are going well, until the death of a former lover forces Arthur into an unforeseen financial crisis. Yet again, readers find Arthur on the run: not abroad this time, but headed cross-country in a series of delightfully funny and uncomfortable literary appearances. Less Is Lost, like its predecessor, is a meditation on aging and identity—especially about gay men aging, about an inherited history of trauma and tragedy—and this novel is also a zig-zagging story of America. It can’t be stressed enough: both books are incredibly funny.

About Andy:

Andrew Sean Greer is the author of seven works of fiction, including the bestsellers The Confessions of Max Tivoli and Less. Greer has taught at a number of universities, including Stanford and the Iowa Writers Workshop, been a TODAY show pick, a New York Public Library Cullman Center Fellow, a judge for the National Book Award, and a winner of the California Book Award and the New York Public Library Young Lions Award. He is the recipient of a NEA grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He lives in San Francisco and Milan.

Andrew Sean Greer recommends:

Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene (Penguin Group)

Maybe by Lillian Hellman (Little, Brown and Company)

Booth by Karen Joy Fowler (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

Faraway by André Dhôtel (Simon & Schuster)

Kate DiCamillo’s children’s books

Lauren Korn recommends:

Less, Less Is Lost (Little, Brown and Company), and The Story of a Marriage (Picador USA) by Andrew Sean Greer

A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Hole in the Sky by William Kittredge (Vintage Books)

The Narrow Door and Later by Paul Lisicky (Graywolf Press)

Thin Places by Jordan Kisner (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker (NYRB Classics)

The team for this episode of The Write Question included Lauren Korn, host and co-producer; Chris Moyles, co-producer, editor, and sound engineer.

The Write Question logo and brand (2022) was designed by Molly Russell. You can see more of her work at and on Instagram @iamthemollruss. Our music was written and recorded by John Floridis.

Funding for The Write Question comes from Humanities Montana; members of Montana Public Radio; and from the Greater Montana Foundation—encouraging communication on issues, trends, and values of importance to Montanans.

The Write Question is a production of Montana Public Radio.

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Lauren R. Korn holds an M.A. in poetry from the University of New Brunswick, where she was the recipient of the Tom Riesterer Memorial Prize and the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize. A former bookseller and the former Director of the Montana Book Festival, she is now an Arts and Culture Producer at Montana Public Radio and the host of it’s literature-based radio program and podcast, ‘The Write Question.’
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