Book-Worm In Your Ear: The People We Hate At The Wedding and Less
These two novels attack the concept of literary romantic comedy from two very distinct angles. The common factor is that they're wonderfully written, with characters we know and can empathize with. For some of you out there, it might even be like looking into a mirror.
Less by Andrew Sean Greer (available at Fully Booked)
Here is Greer writing much 'closer to home' - a funny, gay rom-com! Arthur Less is our central character, a very minor, fifty-something, gay novelist. He's been invited to the wedding of the much younger boyfriend he's had for the last nine years. To go would be too painful, to not attend would be tantamount to declaring defeat. What then to do? Accepting invitations from across the globe to literary conferences and workshops and claiming he's too busy, Arthur takes us on a mirthful examination of the American abroad; courting disaster, misunderstanding, and piling up the 'faux pas'. At the same time, Greer gifts us with passages that take a bittersweet look at Time and the Human Heart. From San Francisco, he flies to Paris, Berlin, Morocco, the Sahara, Southern India, and an island on the Arabian Sea. And it might be Around the World in Eighty Gay Days, but the novel surprises by also being deep and wise.
The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder (available at Fully Booked)
Beyond the wonderful cover of a beheaded couple on a wedding cake, this novel of Ginder manages to offer us something new with the trope of dysfunctional family. Donna is the matriarch, who lives in a Midwestern town with a recently deceased accountant/husband, with whom she has two children. But the great love of her life comes from the failed relationship she had with a rich, suave French playboy, who left her with a daughter, the eldest of her three kids. A cushioned, trust fund baby, Eloise is about to get married and only wants her mother and half-siblings, Alice and Paul, to join her in London. As you would expect, both Alice and Paul harbor deep resentment to the 'golden spoon' Eloise is gifted with; in contrast to their humdrum, keeping afloat, lives. Paul lives with an older, handsomer boyfriend who's an academic and spouts quotes like 'Monogamy is an oppressive heteronormative construct'; while Alice is in a predictable affair with her married boss. Fun read!