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Cleanness by Garth Greenwell

Cleanness by Garth Greenwell

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Paperback novel

ANew York Times Notable Book of 2020
Named one of the best books of 2020 byThe New Yorker; BBC; NPR;Time(100 Must-read Books");Kirkus; and The Washington Post ("50 Notable Works of Fiction")

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 echoreveals 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" byThe 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 is the author ofWhat Belongs to You, which won the British Book Award for Debut of the Year, was longlisted for the National Book Award, and was a finalist for six other awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award and theLos Angeles Times Book Prize. ANew York Times Book ReviewEditors' Choice, it was named a Best Book of 2016 by over fifty publications in nine countries, and is being translated into a dozen languages. His fiction has appeared inThe New Yorker, The Paris Review,A Public Space,andVICE, and he has written criticism forThe New Yorker, theLondon Review of Books, and theNew York Times Book Review, among others. He lives in Iowa City.