A breathtaking examination of romantic obsession and the power struggles of a relationship, this beautifully written and achingly emotional novel marks the debut of one of America’s most exciting young writers.
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, Bulgaria, a country with a difficult past and an uncertain future.
Garth Greenwell’s What Belongs to You is a stunning debut about an American expat struggling with his own complicated inheritance while navigating a foreign culture. Lyrical and intense, it tells the story of a man caught between longing and resentment, unable to separate desire from danger, and faced with the impossibility of understanding those he most longs to know.
‘With What Belongs to You, American literature is richer by one masterpiece. The character Mitko is unforgettable, as all myths are. He reigns at the heart of this book, surrounded by the magic flames of desire.’ Edmund White – Our Young Man
‘In his spare, haunting novel, Garth Greenwell takes a well-known narrative and finds new meaning in it. What Belongs to You is a searching and compassionate meditation on the slipperiness of desire, the impossibility of salvation, and the forces of shame, guilt, and yearning that often accompany love, rendered in language as beautiful and vivid as poetry.’ Hanya Yanagihara –A Little Life
‘Exquisite… One of the great pleasures of [Greenwell’s] prose is how profoundly thoughtful it is, even when considering physical needs and passions. This is emotion recollected in tranquillity, or rather in melancholy… Perhaps the biggest consolation is in language. The world might be ugly, but the words that describe it are beautiful.’ Damon Galgut, The Nation
Read more reviews here