- € 7,99
Winner of the Debut of the Year Award at the British Book Awards.
Shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize.
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, Garth Greenwell's 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.
Longlisted for the National Book Award in Fiction.
A Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
A Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction.
With detailed prose, Greenwell's 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 professor's apartment and eventually decide to travel to Varna, Mitko's hometown on the Black Sea, for a brief respite. However, Mitko's violent side leaves Greenwell's protagonist afraid for his own safety. The two part ways, and years pass before Mitko, ravaged by time and homelessness, reenters the professor's life. Now in a committed long-distance relationship, the instructor battles his erotic yearning and faces increasing discomfort around his former lover, suspecting the prostitute's acts of kindness and care are nothing more than a lure for financial support. The book breaks up the adult protagonist's story with a long middle section devoted to exploring the professor's difficult childhood, as well as his first love, and it is here that the man's struggles sexual and emotional come alive. Greenwell's 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.