• July 2019 •

Discussion Questions

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Less

By Andrew Sean Greer


1. Did you enjoy this book? Rate it out of 5 at the beginning of your meeting and then go around again at the end to see if anything has changed.

2. How would you describe Arthur? Are you sympathetic to him, or is he primarily a self-pitying guy in midlife crisis? Does he exhibit any humanity or is he too self-indulgent to connect with others? Or do you find yourself falling and rooting for him? Does your attitude toward him change during the course of the novel?

3. In the book, “Less” is always referred to by his last name, while

Javier only by his first, and Robert Brownburn by both. Why do you think Greer chose to refer to the characters in these different ways?

4. What lines in the book made you laugh out loud? (if any)

5. Toward the end of the book, Less reunites with his supposed enemy and Freddy’s father, Carlos. When they meet, Carlos tells him that he believes that people’s lives are half-comedy and half-tragedy and that those just appear at different times. What do you make of this theory?

6. After learning he won the Pulitzer Prize, Andrew Sean Greer wrote on Twitter that “Less” is a book that’s most of all “about joy.” “A writer friend once said the hardest thing to write about is joy,” he wrote. “I took it as a challenge.” Do you think he met the challenge?

7. So at the end of his peregrinations, what has Arthur Less come to understand about his life and life in general?

8. Finally, were you surprised by the big reveal at the end?

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