Can you believe it – this is probably the first book that I’ve read, which has won a Pulitzer Prize! And, lo and behold, it was readable and absolutely lovable! If you don’t have the patience to read through the rest of my review (which will be short anyway), I’ll tell you now – you’ve got to read this book. And it is highly recommended by me 🙂 Any book that makes you laugh, and tear up and just feel the love, is an absolute read 😀
I picked up this book as part of the Books on Toast (booktube channel on Youtube that I follow and love), March selection for the book club. And I’m so glad I did. Thank you guys!
The summary doesn’t give out much, and the book in itself, is as simple as the summary. It is about Arthur Less and what we learn as readers, as we travel the world with him, and become a part of his mis-adventures, which are absolutely hilarious! Arthur is trying to escape a broken heart and avoid attending a marriage. And he decides to do this by embarking on a world trip attending literary events that he has avoided all his life because he thinks he’s mediocre and feels extremely out of place amongst all these important, talented and famous writers. But, he decides, that is better than attending the wedding of his ex-lover. He is also going to turn fifty.
I enjoyed the quirky and slightly non linear narration style. There are exactly three passages in the storyline, when the narrator is revealed to be a character in the story, and not a voice over narrator, and that was neat trick. I loved the way the chapters were named after each destination that Arthur Less visits, for example, Less India 😉 I also loved the fact that the story and the narration goes back and forth – but not so much that you lose the plot. Just enough, to give you a sense of being present with Arthur Less at the moment, as he is having his flashback scenes play out. It seemed very realistic to me, since I have these moments myself, when I am traveling somewhere, and something about the place or the time, triggers an old memory, that sends me back in time.
We are introduced to many interesting and some extremely comical supporting characters who Arthur meets and befriends along his journey, but there are no evil characters in this story. Everyone is human. Like you and me. With our faults and quirks. But obviously, Arthur is the central character of the book, and it is really him, who I loved the most. You can’t pity him, or feel bad for him, but you do end up loving him. I would’ve loved to meet Arthur Less in real life.
My favorite chapter was Arthur’s visit to Germany. I was laughing throughout the chapter reading Arthur speak German (translated to English) 😀
I did get a little annoyed with the chapter on India. I always fail to understand the fascination all non Indian creative people have with these parts of India – the chaos, the dirt, and the poor but happy people. We have to have better and different experiences from travelers coming to India, because it feels a little clichéd to me now. Yes, India is all that, but its more than colors, chaos and a place to find nirvana or enlightenment. My one wish is to read about an India and non clichéd Indian characters, through the words or work of a non resident Indian 🙂 Any suggestions anyone?
There are a lot of places, where the author has added some topics that would be great to talk about, or think about. You get to learn different perspectives about age, death and love. But this is a love story, and the predominant concept in the book is the definition of love and what do you do when you find love? The last sentence of the book is also beautiful, and has an unexpected lesson, that could be very valid for the day and age we live in. So here’s to Less (the fictional author, and everything else ;))
Questions for you guys:
Have you read this book? What did you take away from the book? And what was your favorite part in the book?
What other Pulitzer winners would you recommend me to read?