What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016; 208 pp
Reviewed by Charlie Riccardelli


Garth Greenwell’s What Belongs to You is a poetically written debut novel brimming with truly intimate meditations on love and longing. The book follows an American teacher working abroad in Bulgaria. There, he sparks a relationship with a young hustler named Mitko whom he pays for sex in a public bathroom. Their intimate liaison leads both men to rely on one another—out of love, lust, desperation, and even the chance to form a connection. Greenwell has not written a love story, rather a raw exploration of the fragile ties we form and our desire to make and keep those connections even as they run us through the emotional gamut. Even on a sentence-by-sentence level, Greenwell’s beautifully crafted language reads so beautiful and delicate, like the author has placed his being up for scrutiny. What a rare, powerful work.