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What Belongs to You
by Garth Greenwell


Overview -

Long-listed for the 2016 National Book Award in fiction

On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher enters a public bathroom beneath Sofia s National Palace of Culture. There he meets Mitko, a charismatic young hustler, and pays him for sex.  Read more...


 
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More About What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell
 
 
 
Overview

Long-listed for the 2016 National Book Award in fiction

On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher enters a public bathroom beneath Sofia s National Palace of Culture. There he meets Mitko, a charismatic young hustler, and pays him for sex. He returns to Mitko again and again over the next few months, drawn by hunger and loneliness and risk, and finds himself ensnared in a relationship in which lust leads to mutual predation, and tenderness can transform into violence. As he struggles to reconcile his longing with the anguish it creates, he s forced to grapple with his own fraught history, the world of his southern childhood where to be queer was to be a pariah. There are unnerving similarities between his past and the foreign country he finds himself in, a country whose geography and griefs he discovers as he learns more of Mitko s own narrative, his private history of illness, exploitation, and want.

What Belongs to You is a stunning debut novel of desire and its consequences. With lyric intensity and startling eroticism, Garth Greenwell has created an indelible story about the ways in which our pasts and cultures, our scars and shames can shape who we are and determine how we love.

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Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780374288228
  • ISBN-10: 0374288224
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publish Date: January 2016
  • Page Count: 208
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.7 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > LGBT - Gay

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-10-05
  • Reviewer: Staff

With detailed prose, Greenwells debut relays the story of an unnamed American college professor, living and teaching in Bulgaria, who develops a sexual relationship with a nomadic male prostitute named Mitko. Initially meeting in public bathroom stalls at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, the pair shift their dates to the professors apartment and eventually decide to travel to Varna, Mitkos hometown on the Black Sea, for a brief respite. However, Mitkos violent side leaves Greenwells protagonist afraid for his own safety. The two part ways, and years pass before Mitko, ravaged by time and homelessness, reenters the professors life. Now in a committed long-distance relationship, the instructor battles his erotic yearning and faces increasing discomfort around his former lover, suspecting the prostitutes acts of kindness and care are nothing more than a lure for financial support. The book breaks up the adult protagonists story with a long middle section devoted to exploring the professors difficult childhood, as well as his first love, and it is here that the mans strugglessexual and emotionalcome alive. Greenwells novel is a brave and articulate psychological exploration of lust and desire, and though his rich language often carries the book (rather than the plot), the carnal pain on display is striking. (Jan.)

 
BAM Customer Reviews