If you take a look at Towleroad’s BOOKS channel you’ll find a long list of beautifully-written reviews from our book critic Garth Greenwell.
Garth has been writing his own novel for the past 3+ years and we’re excited here at Towleroad that it’s going to be on bookshelves in January.
Garth published an essay yesterday in Publisher’s Weekly that should be insightful for anyone thinking they’re going to sit down, write a novel, and get it published.
It’s a lonely expedition:
It took three years. I wrote the book by hand, in a series of slim spiral-bound notebooks I bought for a lev—about 70 cents—at a little stationery store on the way to school. They were wide ruled, meant for schoolchildren, and the ones I liked best had scenes of idealized village life on their covers, with the words Our Bulgaria scrawled across the top in Cyrillic. Something about composing by hand in a foreign country in the early morning dark, without a computer and its irresistible distractions, with just a small lamp lighting the page, turned writing into the most intense privacy I had ever known. I was working in a kind of figurative dark, too, since I had never written fiction before and was feeling my way forward sentence by sentence, without a clear model or shape in mind. For long stretches, months at a time, a year, I didn’t show my pages to anyone; I wrote without imagining a reader, and so without the anxiety of judgment.
Though now he has been judged, at least a little bit.
The novel, What Belongs To You, recently got an amazing advance review from Kirkus: “The life of an American expat living in Bulgaria intersects repeatedly with that of a young gay hustler in this gorgeous debut novel from Greenwell….This is a project of rare discernment and beauty, and it is not to be missed. A luminous, searing exploration of desire, alienation, and the powerful tattoo of the past.”
And Publisher’s Weekly: “a brave and articulate psychological exploration of lust and desire.”
I’d like to personally congratulate Garth and tell y’all to go get What Belongs To You.
I’d also encourage those of you who read to take a look at our BOOKS channel for reviews like Lori Ostlund’s After the Parade, Michael Klein’s When I Was a Twin, and Vivian Gornick’s The Odd Woman and The City: A Memoir, as well as our TowleREAD feature, where you’ll hear LGBT authors reading from their own works like Christopher Bollen reading from Orient, James Sie reading from Still Life, Last Vegas, and Larry Kramer reading from The American People: Volume 1.