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Garth Greenwell Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

What Belongs to You (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cleanness (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Mitko (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Garth Greenwell is a renowned American author, poet, educator, and literary critic. He is famous for writing contemporary, literary fiction, LGBT stories, and short fiction. Greenwell is particularly popular for writing the 2011 novella called Mitko and full-length standalone novels, What Belongs to You and Cleanness. Additionally, he has published stories in A Public Space and The Paris Review. He also writes criticism for The Atlantic and The New Yorker. In 2013, Greenwell came back to the US after residing in Bulgaria to participate in the Iowa University Writers’ Workshop. He was one of the Arts Fellows who attended the workshop. Author Greenwell was born on March 19, 1978, in Louisville, Kentucky, the U.S. He completed his graduation from Interlochen Arts Academy in 1996, in Interlochen, Michigan. Later, Greenwell earned his bachelor’s degree in Literature from the Eastman School of Music. He also holds a minor degree in Lesbian & Gay Studies from the New York State University at Purchase.

During his time at the university, Greenwell served as In Posse Review’s contributing editor, which is the university journal. He was given the Grolier Poetry Prize in 2000 for his dedicated work. Greenwell went on to earn his MA from Harvard University in English & American Literature and an MFA from St. Louis-based Washington University. Later, he also began his Ph.D. coursework at Harvard. Following his graduation from Harvard, Greenwell started teaching English at a private school based in Ann Harbor. Michigan. He has also taught the same subject at the Bulgaria-based American College of Sofia. This school is known for being the oldest American educational institution located outside the United States and Greenwell takes great pride in having been associated with it. Greenwell used to write frequent book reviews in a literary journal called West Branch, which later transitioned into an annual column.

The first novella penned by the author, Mitko, won the Best Novella Prize by the Miami University Press. It was also a finalist for the Lambda Award and the Edmund White Fiction Award. Greenwell’s work has featured in various literary journals such as Boston Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry International, Yale Review, Salmagundi, and several others. With his debut novel, Greenwell entered the Publishers Weekly’s list of the great first novels of 2016. Greenwell continued to achieve success with his second novel, Cleanness, which achieved critical acclaim. The list of prestigious awards won by author Greenwell for his literary work includes the Rella Lossy Award, Bechtel Prize, the Grolier Prize, and an award given by the Dorothy Sargeant Rosenberg Foundation.

In 2008, he attended the Bread Lead Writer’s Conference as the John Atherton Scholar. Author Greenwell is credited to have worked towards spreading awareness about LGBT rights in Bulgaria. His publications for bringing much-needed attention to LGBT in an article of the weekly English-language newspaper called Sofia Echo. In the article, Greenwell has been praised for drawing the attention of the English-speaking audiences towards LGBT through interviews, reviews, broadcasts, and blog posts.

The debut book written by author Garth Greenwell is entitled ‘What Belongs to You’. It was first released in 2011 and then re-released by the Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in 2016. The book features the primary characters in the roles of Mitko and a teacher from America, who is also the narrator. Initially, it is depicted that an American teacher visits a public bathroom near the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria on a warm autumn day. There, he comes across a charismatic young man named Mitko and offers him some money in exchange for sexual favors. After that encounter, the teacher visits Mitko and indulges in sex repeatedly for several months. He seems to be drawn by loneliness, risk, and hunger. The teacher finds himself falling for a relationship in which tenderness transforms into violence and lust turns into mutual predation.

As the teacher struggles to reconcile the aguish with his longing, he is forced to come to terms with his past, his southern childhood’s world, where being a queer required to be a pariah. He finds that there are striking similarities between the foreign country that he is currently living in and his past. And as the story moves forward, the American teacher goes on to learn more about the foreign country’s griefs and geography through the narrative, exploitation, disease, and private history of illness of Mitko. This novel appears to be a stunning book about desire and the consequences associated with it. Author Greenwell has woven an incredible story with startling eroticism and lyric intensity. The story shows the ways in which a person’s past and cultures, shames, and scars can shape who they are and determine how they love.

Another exciting book penned by Garth Greenwell is known as ‘Cleanness’. It was published in January 2020. This novel also takes place in Sofia, Bulgaria and revolves around queer love. The book opens by showing that Sofia is a landlocked city that stirs with impending upheaval and hope. It is a city where the wind scatters sand from all over, soviet structures crumble, and political protests take place on the streets one after the other. In such a disquiet atmosphere, a teacher hailing from the US navigates a life changed by his discovery & loss of love. When the teacher decides to move out of the place that he had started to feel like home, he comes across several intimate encounters that remind him of his years spent on the foreign land and bear similarities to his past. Later, he learns about the confession of a queer student and is reminded of his own first encounter with love. He goes on to indulge in a seducing relationship with a stranger.

A romance with a foreigner opens his old wounds and heals them. The teacher begins to hear echoes that reveal startling insights that make him realize the meaning of seeking connection with the ones he loves, places he inhabits, and with his own fugitive self. This novel seems to revisit and expand the world that author Greenwell described in his first novel. He has written this novel with elegant prose and described a story that is sure to entertain readers all over the world. The critics labeled this novel as an innovative, audacious, sometimes, romantic, and sometimes disturbing book. Much like the author’s debut novel, this novel also deals with the fraught relationship between power, communication, and sex for queers. It was well received by the audience all over the world and achieved immense success.

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