Cleanness by Garth Greenwell


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.

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Our Bookseller says:

“Garth Greenwell fucks. Okay, yeah, I could totally fixate on how incredibly sexy and raw this book is, but that wouldn’t do justice to the complex relationships those kinks serve. In gorgeous, flowing lines, Greenwell unpacks and sheds shame like no one else. Don’t be daunted by the block dialogue. You can hear the characters on the page—you want to eat them up, like they want to consume and be consumed by each other, like we all do to one extent or another, whether that’s in love, lust, or a simply a place of belonging. Think: if Call Me by Your Name reached for the depths of Sheila Heti’s Motherhood. Shameless and imperfect like its title suggests: a breath of cleanness. Entirely a creature of its own. I can’t wait to share this with the local creatives in my area.” – Mason

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 award-winning 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.

Cleanness by Garth Greenwell
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