What We Are Reading Today: ‘Less,’ by Andrew Sean Greer

Updated 21 April 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: ‘Less,’ by Andrew Sean Greer

“Less” won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction last week and was a surprising choice because few comic novels have won the prestigious award.

The judges’ citation describes it as “a generous book, musical in its prose and expansive in its structure and range, about growing older and the essential nature of love.”

The book follows Arthur Less, a failed novelist about to turn 50.

When he receives a wedding invitation from his boyfriend of nine years ago, he decides instead to run away from his problems by attending a few half-baked literary events around the world.

He 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 in as a writer-in-residence at a Christian retreat center in Southern India, and have a chance encounter on a desert island in the Arabian Sea.

Andrew Sean Greer began this comic masterpiece as a very serious novel about being gay and aging.

“But after a year, I just couldn’t do it,” he told The Washington Post. “It sounds strange but what I was writing about was so sad to me that I thought the only way to write about this was to make it a funny story.”


UK’s Prince Philip ‘shocked and shaken’ after car crash

Updated 18 January 2019
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UK’s Prince Philip ‘shocked and shaken’ after car crash

  • Prince Philip’s vehicle turned on its side after pulling out of a Sandringham driveway onto a main road and colliding with the Kia
  • Philip, known for his forthright manner and off-color jokes, formally retired from public life in 2017

LONDON: Queen Elizabeth II’s 97-year-old husband Prince Philip was “very shocked and shaken” after being involved in a car accident that left his Land Rover flipped on its side, a witness reportedly said.
The duke emerged unharmed but two people in another car were injured in the crash that occurred Thursday when the duke was driving near the Sandringham Estate, according to police and Buckingham Palace.
Norfolk Police said two women — the driver and passenger of a Kia — required hospital treatment but were later discharged. It would not confirm reports that a baby was also in the car.
The BBC reported that Prince Philip’s vehicle turned on its side after pulling out of a Sandringham driveway onto a main road and colliding with the Kia.
Witness Roy Warne, 75, told The Sun newspaper that the Prince was pulled from the wreckage “conscious” but “very shocked and shaken.”
“I saw the car flip,” he said, adding that he rushed to help free the driver before he “suddenly realized it was Prince Philip.”
An image from the accident scene published by a local radio station showed two cars by the side of the road, one on its side with a smashed windscreen and another a few yards away in bushes.
“The Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a road traffic accident with another vehicle this afternoon,” the palace said in a statement.
“The Duke was not injured. The accident took place close to the Sandringham Estate. Local police attended the scene.”
She added that the duke saw a doctor “as a precaution” who confirmed he was not hurt.
Norfolk Police said, in accordance with policy in collisions, it breathalyzed both drivers.
“We can confirm both drivers were breath tested and provided negative readings,” the force added.
It said officers were called to the estate shortly before 3:00 p.m. (1500 GMT) “after a Land Rover and Kia were involved in a collision.”
“The male driver of the Land Rover was uninjured,” it added.
“The female driver of the Kia suffered cuts while the female passenger sustained an arm injury, both requiring hospital treatment.”
The Press Association reported that there was a passenger in the duke’s vehicle who was likely his close protection officer
The royal couple spends most of the winter at the residence in Norfolk, an English county northeast of London, which continues to operate as a sporting estate.
Philip, known for his forthright manner and off-color jokes, formally retired from public life in 2017.
He has been seen behind the wheel on numerous occasions over the decade, including with world leaders and dignitaries as his passengers.
In 2016, alongside the Queen he drove former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle around Windsor Castle in a Range Rover after they landed nearby in the presidential helicopter.
Meanwhile the duke continued to compete in demanding carriage-driving competitions into his 80s, and has previously pulled muscles in his back while driving his horse-drawn carriage.
Philip described in an interview how he took up carriage driving when he gave up polo aged 50, helping to establish it as a sport in subsequent years.
Born a prince of Greece and Denmark, he married then princess Elizabeth on November 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey in London.
On their golden wedding anniversary in 1997, she said of him: “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years.”