Garth Greenwell reads What Belongs To You
Garth Greenwell’s debut novel has received rave reviews from both sides of the Atlantic.
Garth kindly dropped by during a brief trip to the UK to read to us from What Belongs To You.
Garth shares the writers, musicians and places he finds himself returning to.
'A rich, important debut, an instant classic to be savoured by all lovers of serious fiction' - The New York Times Book Review
'Language as beautiful and vivid as poetry' - Hanya Yanagihara
'An uncommonly sensitive, intelligent and poignant novel’ - Sunday Times
'Erotic holding, emotional withholding and the question of who holds power in a relationship are all examined in a work which gripped me all the way to its sad and beautiful ending’ - Independent on Sunday
On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher walks down a staircase beneath Sofia's National Palace of Culture, looking for sex. Among the stalls of a public bathroom he encounters Mitko, a charismatic young hustler. He returns to Mitko again and again over the next few months, and their trysts grow increasingly intimate and unnerving as the enigma of this young man becomes inseparable from that of his homeland.
Lyrical and intense, Garth Greenwell's What Belongs To You is the story of an expat struggling with his own complicated inheritance while navigating a foreign culture, faced with the impossibility of understanding those he most longs to know.
Read an interview with Garth Greenwell in literary magazine Aerodrome
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, their relationship growing increasingly intimate and unnerving.
As he struggles to reconcile his longing with the anguish it creates, he's forced to grapple with his own fraught history: his formative experiences of love, his painful rejection by family and friends, and the difficulty of growing up as a gay man in southern America in the 1990s.
Startlingly erotic and immensely powerful, What Belongs to You tells an unforgettable story about the ways our pasts and cultures, our scars and shames can shape who we are and determine how we love.