AUDIO

Less

7 CDs. Hachette Audio. May 2018. 8:20 hrs. ISBN 9781549118715. $76.99. digital download. F
COPY ISBN
Arthur Less is, well…considerably less, now that he's middle-aged, alone, and pretty much broke. The pinnacle of his novel-writing career might have been his first New York Times review, which while "good" assigned him an epithet that would haunt (taunt?) him in the decades since: "magniloquent spoony." His partner at the time, an older, revered Pulitzer-winning poet, had to explain: "Arthur…he's just calling you a faggot." Well, then. Now that he's about to turn 50, Arthur decides he can't witness the nuptials of his (still adored) younger lover and avoids the event by piecing together an around-the-world "ramshackle itinerary" of book-related gigs and a short teaching stint. Of course, transformations prove inevitable. Narrator Robert Petkoff takes Arthur's journeys in well-synced stride, adapting easily—for the most part—among countries and languages, although he occasionally stumbles in Asia with Hindi (dhoti becomes dotty) and Japanese (ryokan gets an extra syllable with ri-yoh-kan). Minor quibbles aside, Petkoff exudes Arthur's irresistibility—a combination of still-boyish naïveté, distracted haplessness, aging disappointment, and unassuming charm.
VERDICT Surely Greer's Pulitzer boost has escalated demand; multiplatform accessibility seems a must for all libraries. ["Greer is both clever and compassionate...and while the book focuses on gay men and their relationships, the search for love and meaning is universal": LJ 6/15/17 starred review of the Little, Brown hc.]

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