by Garth Greenwell
from the September 16, 2019 issue of The New Yorker

This week Garth Greenwell returns to The New Yorker and takes us again to Bulgaria. We last saw him with “The Frog King” last November. Prior to that we got “An Evening Out” in August 2017. All three of these stories will be in his forthcoming book Cleanness. , which sounds like a book of linked stories that continue to flesh out the world he was exploring in his debut novel, What Belongs to You.

I myself have still not fully entered Greenwell’s world, but I’m definitely interested. Here we go to a resort where people are coming together at a writing conference. I love the tone of the opening, long paragraph. Here is a portion:

Even in the dark I liked to look at it, though the sea was never truly dark, even now in the off-season it caught the light of the moon, which hung high and almost full, and of the signs of the few restaurants and hotels that were open in the new town, so that the whole harbor shimmered with points of light. It had been months since I had seen the sea, a year, and I was hungry for it; I had stepped to the edge of the terrace to check my phone but found myself staring at the sea instead. You could lose yourself in it, that was what I liked, it was beautiful but also it was like looking at nothing, the sight of it drowned out thinking like the sound of it drowned out noise, and at first I didn’t hear the others calling me to join them.

Please let me know your thoughts on the story once you’ve read it. Are any of you invested in Greenwell’s world and anxious for Cleanness? I look at my shelves and see a lot of books I want to read, and I just might have to push some of them aside to get to these two.

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