Arthur Less is staring down the barrel of his 50th birthday. His writing career still hasn’t taken off, his finances are a mess, and if that wasn’t enough to throw him into crisis, he’s just received a wedding invitation from his ex-boyfriend of nine years – further proof that the world is moving on without him.

So what is Arthur to do? Attend the wedding and watch his old love marry someone else, or decline the invitation and admit defeat? “Neither,” he decides. Instead, he’ll simply make himself unavailable, accepting every invitation to any literary event he’s ever received, regardless of how banal or bizarre they might be. The result is an astounding ‘around the world in 80 conferences’ style adventure – one that lampoons the literary industry, marvels at all the mistakes one person can make in a lifetime and ultimately explores the challenges of trying to find love.

This Pulitzer Prize winner deserves all the praise it’s received. While Andrew Sean Greer is technically brilliant – delivering metaphors and word play that will stop you in your tracks – what will keep you reading is the care he takes in depicting Arthur, a protagonist that’s somehow satirical and uncomfortably real. It’s this line-blurring that’ll have you rooting for Arthur from beginning to end, no matter how many times he gets in his own way. If you don’t laugh, cry and jump for joy then your money back (see the T&Cs). And if nothing else, you’ll at least get a trip around the world, which is more than even Flight Centre can offer.

By Sam Henderson


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