Start Time: 00:53
End Time: 05:42
Pulitzer-Prize-winning author, Andrew Sean Greer, reads his story, "It's a Summer Day," adapted from Greer's novel, "Less." In this story, Arthur Less accepts a number of international invitations to avoid his ex-boyfriend's wedding.
Publish Date: Feb 19, 2021
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Pulitzer-Prize-winning author, Andrew Sean Greer, reads his story, "It's a Summer Day," adapted from Greer's novel, "Less." In this story, Arthur Less finds himself on a plane descending into Italy. He has accepted a number of international invitations to avoid his ex-boyfriend's wedding. But Less is about to find out that he's only traded one indignity for another.
less from which the story was adapted will come out in July. Now here's Andrew Sean Greer. It's a summer day. Arthur less recalls intercontinental travel advice that his old flame, Freddy once gave him. They serve you dinner. You take your sleeping pill, they serve you breakfast. You're there. Four armed less boards. The aircraft settles into his window seat, chooses the Tuscan chicken who's ravishing name like that of an Internet lover. Belies the reality. Mere chicken and mashed potatoes and with his Thumbelina bottle of red wine, takes a single white capsule. The drug does its duty. He does not remember finishing the Bavarian cream in its little egg cup, nor the removal of his dinner, nor setting his watch to a new time zone. Instead, less awakens to a plane of sleeping citizens under blue prison blankets. Dreamily happy. He looks at his watch and panics. Only two hours have passed. There are still nine to go. Perhaps Freddie, who's 15 years less, is Junior did not correctly calculate the dosage for an older, more nervous passenger. Or, to be precise, for the middle aged novelist Arthur Less on the monitors of recent American cop comedy is playing like any silent movie, it needs no sound to convey its plot. Ah, heist by amateurs. He tries to fall back asleep. His jacket is a pillow. His mind plays a movie of his present life heist by amateurs. Less takes a deep breath and fumbles in his bag. He finds another pill and puts it in his mouth. An endless process of dry swallowing that he remembers from taking vitamins is a boy. Then it is done. And he places the thin satin mask over his eyes again ready to re enter the darkness. Sir, your breakfast? Coffee or tea? Why? Uh, coffee shades are being opened to let in the bright sun above the heavy clouds. Blankets are being put away. Has any time past. He does not remember sleeping. He looks at his watch. What madman has said it? Toe? What time zone? Singapore breakfast. They're about to descend into Frankfurt and he has just taken. Ah, hypnotic. A tree is placed before him. A microwave croissant with frozen butter and jam a cup of coffee. Well, he will have to push through. Perhaps the coffee will counter act the sedative you taken upper for a downer, right? This less reflects as he tries to butter the bread with its companion chunk of ice is how drug addicts think our novelist is going to Turin for a prize ceremony, although he is not really going for a prize ceremony. He is escaping a wedding, that of young Freddy to someone named Tom. He stared at the invitation when it came in the mail, every word embossed so that even the blind could enjoy this humiliation. And in his panic state grasped at other invitations. He had received conferences, symposia, temporary professorships in far flung locales like Mexico, Germany, Japan less dug them up and hastily agreed to all of them so that he could write with satisfaction on the R S V. P card. Dear Freddie and Tom, my apologies, but I will be out of the country. As it turns out, less has merely traded one indignity for a Siris of new ones in Mexico, Germany, Japan. But first, this one in Italy, where he is nominated for a prize. No one believes he will win, not his agent, who urged him to stay home and start a new book, not his sister, who said that this was no way for a man his age to behave, and certainly not less himself. In the days leading up to the ceremony, there will be interviews, something called a confrontation with high school students and many luncheons and dinners. He looks forward to escaping from his hotel into the streets of Turin, the secret heart of a city he's always longed to visit. Contained deep within the printed schedule was the information that he is a finalist for a lesser prize. The greater prize has already been awarded to the famous British.