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Cleanness

Garth Greenwell

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Picador

9781509874644
256
Synopsis

'Cleanness is stunning, provocatively revelatory and atmospherically profound. Here is love and sex as art, as pulse, as truth' - Lisa Taddeo, author of Three Women

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 a younger man 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, Greenwell transcribes the strange dialects of desire, cementing his stature as one of our most vital living writers.

In the media
An unbearably wonderful, eloquently sexual, thoughtful, emotional delight of a novel - Garth Greenwell writes like no one else

Eimear McBride

Cleanness is stunning, provocatively revelatory and atmospherically profound. Here is love and sex as art, as pulse, as truth.

Lisa Taddeo, author of Three Women

Garth Greenwell is an intensely beautiful and gorgeous writer. I can think of no contemporary author who brings as much reality and honesty to the description of sex—locating in it the sublime, as well as our deepest degradations, our sweetness, confusion, and rage

Sheila Heti, author of Motherhood

Cleanness is a impressive book: moving, radical, both beautiful and violent, unexpected. Garth Greenwell is a major writer, and his writing provides us tools to affirm ourselves, to exist - to fight

Edouard Louis, author of The End of Eddy.