Much like Greenwell s debut, What Belongs to You, Cleanness considers the fraught relationship between sex, power, and communication for queer men traumatized by repressive childhoods This collection of linked short stories follows an unnamed gay American expat living and teaching English in Bulgaria as he seeks out humiliating hook ups, struggles to sustain an LTR, and frets about his adopted nation s political upheaval All the stories focus on gay characters inability to form lasting bonds and their desire to dole out, or receive, abuse during sex As self conscious as the work is of these twin themes, the narrator avoids critically engaging with his sexuality, early on declaring of his lust for pain, Maybe it s best not to look into it too closely Again and again Greenwell fetishizes and fixates on queer dysfunction, without much analyzing its roots or im Cleanness is a sparse and melancholic novel about an American man living in Bulgaria His sexual encounters with other men some of these encounters loving, some purely transactional mostly take center stage in this story that unfolds across nine vignettes, in which the narrator reflects on the time he s spent living and teaching in Sofia.
Greenwell s linguistic prowess is this book s greatest strength I think On Earth We re Briefly Gorgeous is an obvious enough comparison, though they vary in subject matter but these are the kind of novels that won t appeal to anyone who grows weary of lyrical prose and introspection, who instead need a diverting plot or a strong attachment to characters I have to wonder if I m becoming such a reader, because my only qualm with this book was a certain lack of narrative cohesion that seemed to be beside the point entirely But the writing is worth the p
I have a hunch that this major release will be polarizing, which only speaks to its poetic power and daring structure I am deeply impressed by Greenwell s achievement At the heart, this is a story about a gay American teacher in Sofia, Bulgaria, who wins and loses the heart of a young man from Lisboa consequently, these events are told in the middle section of the novel, entitled Loving R The first and the last third of the book offer three vignettes each that illustrate the unnamed teacher s life in Bulgaria, his experiences and desires and the repercussions of his love to R Greenwell is a fantastic psychological writer, diving deep into the thoughts, subconscious urges and conscious longings of his main character, and the result is not for the timid If you think you read explicit sex scenes, think again At times in this book, I had the g Four years ago, Garth Greenwell published a debut novel about an American teacher who falls in love with a gay hustler in Bulgaria What Belongs to You might have withered unnoticed in the weeds of literary fiction Its plot was cramped, its setting dank, its characters obscure But none of that mattered The book smoldered with lust and regret across pages of hypnotically gorgeous prose Critics and other readers responded with awe to Greenwell s unnerving insight into the tangled desires and betrayals of the heart.
Now Greenwell is back with Cleanness, a collection of stories that revisits that teacher s experience in Bulgaria, a country the author knows from his own stint as a teacher at the American College of Sofia Three of these nine stories have appeared in the New Yorker and almost all of them are extraordinary Although the form is smaller, the scop ↠´ Cleanness ↠´ Some books are like dreams that vanish from the memory once they re finished Others are like physical places I can call their geography to mind, I feel I could step back into them if I wanted Garth Greenwell s What Belongs to You, which I read in 2016, fits into the latter category I ve retained a strong impression of the setting, the authorial voice, the general ambience of the book I liked it a lot at the time, and this sense of gravity has solidified my idea of its greatness So I was keen to read this follow up not quite a sequel, but rather a continuation of Belongs Though the narrative never explicitly confirms it, all the details suggest this is the same protagonist, and most of the book is once again set in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Cleanness starts strong In the first chapter story, Mentor , the narrator meets a student, who makes a halting confession and tells a story that is fam 4.
5, rounded up.
Those who were entranced as I was by Greenwell s first novel What Belongs to You, nominated for the NBA and numerous other book prizes, have reason to celebrate, since his new book is not even really a sequel as much as it is a continuation of that first book The narrator protagonist would seem to be identical that is, a youngish gay American teaching literature and English in Sofia, Bulgaria It or less picks up where the previous book ends, and continues the adventures, professional and romantic, of said individual, who would appear to be at least semi autobiographical No worries if one HASN T read the first book, since although knowledge of it would probably enhance one s experience, it is by no
Written in much the same ethereal style as his other past works, Cleanness follows the narrator as he navigates his time teaching English in economically depressed Bulgaria With chapters engaged with BDSM themes and chapters engaged with the complications and beauties of gay love and romance, Greenwell s book doesn t shy away from asking readers to consider their own relationships to themselves and what this personal relationship means about their ability to love others and accept love The setting and pace in what feels to be a cold and post communist Eastern Europe helps code the story in a fog that ties in deeply with the melancholy of t I have so much to say on this one But wowwwww Tender and understated with bursts of graphic sex thrown into the mix Rich themes galore I genuinely think I could write an essay on this book, but I won t be doing that Sorrrry Cleanness unnerved me, engulfed me, obliterated my emotions, and tapped into my soul even when I didn t want it to It s definitely mature than his last one This book lit a fuse.
A full review will definitely be on its way But for now, let me catch my breath.
The Highly Anticipated Follow Up To His Beloved Debut, What Belongs To You, Garth Greenwell Deepens His Exploration Of Foreignness, Obligation, And DesireSofia, 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 SongIn 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 [ Pdf Cleanness ï womens-rights PDF ] by Garth Greenwell è 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 Garth Greenwell s Cleanness is an erogenous, esoteric, hurt so good of a novel that outlines the poignant encounters of a gay American professor visiting from the south who forges bonds, both sexual and sentimental, with various men while teaching abroad in Sofia, Bulgaria Although the focal point of the narrative peers from the most private localities of the speaker s emotions his clemency for a closeted student the distress of filthy, fleeting affairs the betrayals of true love coming to its bittersweet end Cleanness speaks volumes to the ways shame and solitude make queer men prisoners to their own desires.
Written in a similar vein as Greenwell s lauded debut novel, What Belongs to You, Cleanness unfolds like