Arthur Less in his late 40s, struggles to face reality, and that he might have made the biggest mistake in his life. After spending his 20s with a man that doubled his age, Arthur ended up stray until Freddy came knocking at his door one day out of the blue and stayed with him for a decade. However, as Arthur is facing the terror of turning 50, and in an act of either selflessness or stupidity, Arthur frees his “young” lover to the world, since Freddy still has all his life in front of him, whereas Arthur is turning 50.
The blurb of the novel appeals to the readers enough to embark on this journey; however, the writing style makes the ride bumpy and sometimes impossible to stomach. A third person is narrating Arthur’s adventures or misadventures. While telling the reader this story, the narrator also shares their story without any page break, chapter break, or warning of any sort. Only avid listeners and masters of concentration are able to dive into this story from the audiobook version, and still an avid reader might struggle to grasp the random non-linear storyline of Andrews’s novel.
As mentioned in our social media, a theme that resonated with Inkish Kingdoms readers was the fear of getting old and the question of “who will love an old man”. Ageism in the LGBTQ+ community has become an important topic that not many people are addressing. Ageism might come from the trauma of obsessing over youth and appearances. Robert Espinoza, in the article “LGBT People: Let’s Talk About Ageism,” mentions how:
“Mainstream culture and various sub-cultures often conflate beauty with youth, and self-worth with appearance, which leaves many people — not just gay men — feeling unattractive, insecure and potentially depressed as they age.”Robert Espinoza
Is the community as welcome to every person, identity, and sexuality as they think they are? Or are we discriminating against ourselves and even the older generations? Robert also mentions that it seems that the LGBTQ+ community hasn’t made space or saved space for older generations to be included. Andrew exposes this trauma through Less’s fear and decision to leave Freddy. This action reinforces the obsession over youth and that older people are stealing or wasting younger people’s lives.
Andrew’s story, although well-plotted with drama and secrets, lacked surprise. In a predictable story format of a third person narrating the story, the events of the narrator related to the main character, and the multiple obvious hints throughout the novel of how the story was going to end, left the Inkish Kingdoms readers with a sweet, expected, and anticlimactic ending. We are not refusing the Less deserved what he got because we all deserve to find happiness. However, this makes us think that the focus of the novel is more on the journey and not on the destination. While traveling the world, almost for free, Arthur Less is able to find himself, new and old lovers, his voice as an author, and understand what it takes to live in a world on his own and with other people.
A nice read that gives a fight when you try to read it, Less is a nice story that will leave you still wanting to know more.
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