Thursday, January 23, 2020

Review: Cleanness

Cleanness Cleanness by Garth Greenwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An early morning Instagram chat with Hardcoverheartsblog helped me solidify my feelings about this book. Much like Garth Greenwell's last novel, What Belongs to You, which I admit I never finished, the narrator feels like the author sharing stories from his time teaching English in Bulgaria. In a few he is quite young, some are during revolution, and in some he is older (but the narrator is the same.) His (very explicit and often challenging) sexual encounters, relationships, and friendships are only with first initials, shrouding all stories in a layer of secrecy that suits the plight of a gay man in Bulgaria. The limits he pushes in risk-taking behavior, violence, and so on also manage to show how perhaps Americans also aren't as free as they think they are, and how deeply we internalize homophobic narratives and more.

I had a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley and it came out January 14.

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