Cleanness by Garth Greenwell


Garth Greenwell

Thrumming with life’s questions, we watch the narrator wrestle in shameless clarity with his own intimate desires, inviting us in and yet held at arm’s length by his sense of private pain. Stand-alone chapters magnify and crystallise his raw anguish and alienation. An unsettling, illuminating exploration of love and anonymity; fear and solitude, crafted in heat-seeking prose.


Tomorrow you will feel it, I said to myself, feel it then, don’t feel it now. I started dancing again, and when I moved Z. began to move too, he let his arm fall from my shoulder but began shifting side to side with the music, and soon he was smiling again. Maybe he thinks it was an accident, I thought, maybe it was an accident, maybe there’s no need for shame, even though I knew that wasn’t the case, or maybe he was so drunk he would forget it and then the only shame would be a private shame, the shame I was accustomed to, the shame that felt like home.

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Explicit sexual content