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Books Editorial

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Andrew Sean Greer, Abacus

This comic novel, which has just been issued in paperback, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2018 and it wears the crown well. Less, is Arthur Less, a middling to failing novelist living in San Francisco who, according to a fellow author, is also a “bad gay”. One of his former long term partners is about to be married, and so, on the cusp of turning 50 and looking for the perfect excuse to avoid the nuptials, Less decides to write back to all of the preposterous literary invites he has accumulated from around the world over the last few months, and accept them all. And so begins a picaresque trek that whisks him off to Mexico, Germany, India and beyond, with Less cast into a tale that is pitched somewhere between Armistead Maupin, PG Wodehouse and Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim. It is beautifully written, with Andrew Sean Greer conjuring up the kind of delightful similes that will make you coo, and it is by turn sweet, bittersweet, poignant, romantic, endearing, wise and very funny.