Author: Garth Greenwell
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published: January 14, 2019
Book Description: Sofia, Bulgaria, a landlocked city in southern Europe, stirs with hope and impending upheaval. Soviet buildings crumble, wind scatters sand from the far south, and political protesters flood the streets with song.
In this atmosphere of disquiet, an American teacher navigates a life transformed by the discovery and loss of love. As he prepares to leave the place he’s come to call home, he grapples with the intimate encounters that have marked his years abroad, each bearing uncanny reminders of his past. A queer student’s confession recalls his own first love, a stranger’s seduction devolves into paternal sadism, and a romance with another foreigner opens, and heals, old wounds. Each echo reveals startling insights about what it means to seek connection: with those we love, with the places we inhabit, and with our own fugitive selves.
Cleanness revisits and expands the world of Garth Greenwell’s beloved debut, What Belongs to You, declared “an instant classic” by The New York Times Book Review. In exacting, elegant prose, he transcribes the strange dialects of desire, cementing his stature as one of our most vital living writers.
Rating: 3 Stars
Review: This is Garth Greenwell’s second novel and this one is just as surreal as the first. He is a poet at heart and it definitely comes through when he transitions to novels.
Greenwell wrote this book in three parts, each one felt like a separate vignette. Well thematically they all fit together, I felt that they could have been read separately as I did not feel the connection between the sections.
What this book comes down to is it about relationships, each one gripping in it’s own right. There is was love, there was hatred and how cruel people can be.
This book at times felt like a dream, which makes me think I will soon forget this one. Writing was beautiful, but the content did not match.
Thank you NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.