❝Strange to be almost fifty, no? I feel like I just understood how to be young.”
“Yes! It’s like the last day in a foreign country. You finally figure out where to get coffee, and drinks, and a good steak. And then you have to leave. And you won’t ever be back.❞
What would possibly go wrong? Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last. (Goodreads)
By now, you most probably have heard of Less by Andrew Sean Greer. It just won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2018). It’s about a struggling writer’s escape from a dreaded wedding invitation. It starts deceptively quiet but this book took me to San Franciso, New York, Paris, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Morocco, India and Japan. It really showed how travel is one of the most effective cures for loneliness and midlife crisis.
This novel is one that will make you see what happens after the happily ever afters, after the honeymoon stage, and even after the equilibrium of domestic bliss—lives rarely seen depicted so realistically and beautifully. Although it shows you that there is no such thing as a “final” and “true” happy ever after, it will also make you realize that there’s an infinite number of possibilities in life–all you have to do is make the next choice, book the next flight or fall in love again. 🌸