I picked up this book, read a few pages, left for somedays, and then started to read again. I however had forgotten what was the context of the story in the initial few pages that I had read days before. The story was getting convoluted in my mind, much like the lead character Arthur Less. Primarily knowing mostly “straight” people in my real life, it took me time to get acquainted with almost all gay characters that keep this book afloat. So in order to not forget the plot again due to reading the book intermittently, I fixed a challenge for myself to read this book in one go (I mean in a day).
Less by Andrew Sean Green is a lovestory. And like all love stories, this book has lovers, broken hearts, phases of denials, and reconciliation. Arthur Less is a man who is about to turn 50. He is gay, and his long time partner is getting married to another man. It is hard for Less to attend this marriage, and the easiest yet boldest step that he takes to avoid the ceremony is by taking a world tour. His tour is not a typical touristy kind of excursion, but instead he connects the dots of a number of academic and professional activities all around the world, to frame one long trip around the world. From San Francisco, it starts with New York, then Mexico, then many countries in Europe like Italy, Germany, and France, followed by Morocco, then India, then Japan, and eventually back to San Francisco. In this long journey he tries to evade away from his memories, remembers when the marriage is taking place, is met by all kind of opinions on successful relationships, faces reality checks, and is made to realise by one dear old partner who is on his death bed that “welcome to fucking life. Fifty is nothing. I look back at fifty and think, what the fuck was I so worried about? Look at me now. I’m in the afterlife. Go enjoy yourself.”
The book is all about love and relationships and built around a character getting married. Hindu marriages take place in presence of a priest and many chants. A crucial part of the marriage is for the bride and groom to take vows by moving around in circles around a small pit of fire. These are total 7 circles. I read this book while turning on a stopwatch. And call it coincidence or anything, but it took me exactly 7 hours to complete reading it.