HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

What Belongs to You: A Novel by Garth…
Loading...

What Belongs to You: A Novel (original 2016; edition 2016)

by Garth Greenwell (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5502033,103 (3.81)27
"A haunting novel of erotic obsession by a major new talent On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher walks down a stairwell 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, a country with a difficult past and an uncertain future. 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"--… (more)
Member:claudecat
Title:What Belongs to You: A Novel
Authors:Garth Greenwell (Author)
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2016), Edition: 1St Edition, 208 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell (2016)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 27 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
meh ( )
  rosscharles | May 19, 2021 |
This novel is claustrophobic, making the reader feel as trapped as the main character (MC; an unnamed gay American teaching in Sofia, Bulgaria) so often does. Outside it is cold and inhospitable, inside it is hot and stuffy. The author's ability to portray that feeling--of feeling trapped and lightheaded, overheated and miserable; or of cold and scared and worried--is impressive.

The MC in this novel realizes that in coming to Sofia, he has come to a place where being a gay man is not unlike what it was like for him growing up in the American South. Why has he chosen to come to such a place when he had finally escaped? Again he feels he must hide his identity--and the claustrophobia that comes with it. Greenwell uses heat--in his apartment, on a train--and enclosed spaces--an underground bathroom used for cruising, a stairwell, train compartment, a doctor's office--to double up on the claustrophobia. Only when the MC is outside, in the open, in the fresh air, does he think about his childhood and relationship with his father, and explore his thoughts and feelings about his father. ( )
  Dreesie | May 27, 2020 |
A young gay American has a "sentimental education" while teaching English in Bulgaria - and receives his predictable epiphanies just as you expect he will.

WBTY is well-written in the "Iowa Writers' Workshop" manner, but the novel was of limited appeal to me because of the 1st person narrator, who (to me) comes across as vain, condescending, and narcissistic - somewhat the typical young American abroad.

And I don't understand why the middle section is written in one long unbroken paragraph that goes on for forty pages. IMHO, just because Faulkner did it, doesn't mean it needs to be done again. ( )
  yooperprof | May 6, 2020 |
Garth Greenwell’s elegant, vivid and evocative writing makes this a stand-out novel. The novel engages the reader in strong emotions, sometimes of passion and longing, and other times of despair, hopelessness, aversion and regret.

The novel is written in first person, and the name of its narrator is never revealed, an accomplishment seldom achieved in first-person narratives.
The story is set in Bulgaria,a pathetic yet sometimes beautiful country which has been dominated and ruled by foriegn nations throughout most of its existence. This setting itself serves as a sort of character in the novel. The various locales and surroundings of each of the novel’s episodes impact what occurs in the setting as well as the moods and behaviors of the characters. In fact, Bulgaria itself is a country that has not yet achieved its own sovereignty, its own national identity, just as the two primary characters in this book cannot fully achieve their fullness, their independence from one another.

The narrator of the book finds a young man, Mitko in a rest room frequented by men looking to hook up with other men. It is the reason the narrator was in the rest room and Mitko is the one to sell his services to the older man.

The business relationship between the two men quickly grows into something bigger, yet is doomed to never be the deep and meaningful relationship the narrator longs for, even though he himself does not recognize that longing.

It is a powerful book, an emotional journey into desire, obsession and yearning, where neither man can admit his own desire for commitment to and feelings for the other man.

To say that the book ends on a tragic way is not to spoil or reveal its ending because the book is a tragic story all along. The two meet in tragic desperation, one for money, the other for companionship. The affair and relationship is misbegotten from the outset and can never grows beyond each man’s inability to be other than who they are.

This is not a standard romance, nor a tragic love story. It is a deep psychological exploration of two very different characters and their impacts on each other’s lives.

Most books about male relationships with other men are, surprisingly, both written by and read by women. As such, the stories they portray can only be what the female authors imagine a homosexual relationship to be. When an author is both male and gay himself, he is able to portray a mood, feeling tone and level of authenticity not possible from authors lacking those qualifications.

Greenwell is qualified to tell a story like this, not just because he a a gay male writer himself, but also because he is an extremely talented writer with the skill and experience only an experienced poet is able to display. ( )
  Paul-the-well-read | Apr 21, 2020 |
Garth Greenwell’s elegant, vivid and evocative writing makes this a stand-out novel. The novel engages the reader in strong emotions, sometimes of passion and longing, and other times of despair, hopelessness, aversion and regret.

The novel is written in first person, and the name of its narrator is never revealed, an accomplishment seldom achieved in first-person narratives.
The story is set in Bulgaria,a pathetic yet sometimes beautiful country which has been dominated and ruled by foriegn nations throughout most of its existence. This setting itself serves as a sort of character in the novel. The various locales and surroundings of each of the novel’s episodes impact what occurs in the setting as well as the moods and behaviors of the characters. In fact, Bulgaria itself is a country that has not yet achieved its own sovereignty, its own national identity, just as the two primary characters in this book cannot fully achieve their fullness, their independence from one another.

The narrator of the book finds a young man, Mitko in a rest room frequented by men looking to hook up with other men. It is the reason the narrator was in the rest room and Mitko is the one to sell his services to the older man.

The business relationship between the two men quickly grows into something bigger, yet is doomed to never be the deep and meaningful relationship the narrator longs for, even though he himself does not recognize that longing.

It is a powerful book, an emotional journey into desire, obsession and yearning, where neither man can admit his own desire for commitment to and feelings for the other man.

To say that the book ends on a tragic way is not to spoil or reveal its ending because the book is a tragic story all along. The two meet in tragic desperation, one for money, the other for companionship. The affair and relationship is misbegotten from the outset and can never grows beyond each man’s inability to be other than who they are.

This is not a standard romance, nor a tragic love story. It is a deep psychological exploration of two very different characters and their impacts on each other’s lives.

Most books about male relationships with other men are, surprisingly, both written by and read by women. As such, the stories they portray can only be what the female authors imagine a homosexual relationship to be. When an author is both male and gay himself, he is able to portray a mood, feeling tone and level of authenticity not possible from authors lacking those qualifications.

Greenwell is qualified to tell a story like this, not just because he a a gay male writer himself, but also because he is an extremely talented writer with the skill and experience only an experienced poet is able to display. ( )
  Paul-the-well-read | Apr 21, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greenwell, Garthprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anweiler, JustineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Freeman, MaxAuthor photographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Alan Pierson and Max Freeman and for Luis Muñoz
First words
That my first encounter with Mitko B. ended in a betrayal, even a minor one, should have given me greater warning at the time, which should in turn have made my desire for him less, if not done away with it completely.
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

"A haunting novel of erotic obsession by a major new talent On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher walks down a stairwell 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, a country with a difficult past and an uncertain future. 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"--

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.81)
0.5
1 1
1.5
2 6
2.5 4
3 26
3.5 10
4 50
4.5 5
5 25

GenreThing

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 160,266,549 books! | Top bar: Always visible