What Belongs to You: A Novel

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05On 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 over and over over the next month or two, drawn by hunger and loneliness and risk, and finds himself ensnared within a relationship where lust causes mutual predation, and tenderness can modify into violence. As he struggles to reconcile his longing together with the anguish it generates, he’s made to grapple along with his own fraught history, the joy of his southern childhood where you can be queer would have been to be a pariah. There are unnerving similarities between his past and also the foreign country he finds himself in, a country whose geography and griefs he discovers while he learns really Mitko’s own narrative, his private reputation illness, exploitation, and wish.

What Belongs to You is often a stunning debut novel of desire as well as consequences. With lyric intensity and startling eroticism, Garth Greenwell has generated an indelible story around the ways through which our pasts and cultures, our scars and shames can shape who we have been and determine the way you love.

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