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No nation I’ve ever heard of

Garth Greenwell: Matthew Griffin’s ‘Hide’, 19 January 2017

by Matthew Griffin.
Bloomsbury, 272 pp., £16.99, August 2016, 978 1 4088 6708 2
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... At the beginning​ of Matthew Griffin’s novel, Wendell, his eighty-something narrator, finds his partner collapsed in their garden, face up in the North Carolina sun. Frank will recover from the immediate effects of his stroke, but the book charts his decline into physical debility and dementia, as well as Wendell’s increasingly desperate efforts to care for him ...

Porno Swagger

Edmund Gordon: ‘Cleanness’, 16 April 2020

by Garth Greenwell.
Picador, 223 pp., £14.99, April, 978 0 374 12458 8
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... in the oral sex in Couples (1968) or the anal sex in Rabbit Is Rich (1982) wasn’t explained.Garth Greenwell was born in 1978 and first read The Swimming-Pool Library when he was twenty (around the time Updike was reviewing The Spell). He described the ‘immense sense of permission’ it gave him: ‘There was a great liberating thrill in reading ...

The Unpronounceable

Adam Mars-Jones: Garth Greenwell, 21 April 2016

What Belongs to You 
by Garth Greenwell.
Picador, 194 pp., £12.99, April 2016, 978 1 4472 8051 4
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... the way. It isn’t relevant. Her beauty fills the empty spaces in the book. What Belongs to You, Garth Greenwell’s brilliantly controlled first novel, starts with a sustained exercise in the literary modelling of negative space. The unnamed narrator is an American living in Sofia who becomes involved with a hustler called Mitko – ‘hustler’ has ...

Ha ha! Ha ha!

Lauren Oyler: Jia Tolentino, 23 January 2020

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion 
by Jia Tolentino.
Fourth Estate, 303 pp., £14.99, August 2019, 978 0 00 829492 2
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... that leads to much of the confusion she says she feels. (Several authors, including Sally Rooney, Garth Greenwell and Kristen Roupenian, have used BDSM to dramatise such shifting power relations in recent fiction.) In many understandings of BDSM, if all goes well, the sub has some power. After dictating their safe words and limits, they just have to do ...

Love, Lucia

Lucia Berlin: Letters to August Kleinzahler, 4 August 2005

... improvement. I don’t mind him now when he says ‘Enjoy your mail.’ * A million New Yorkers at Garth Brooks concert in Central Park. Wow. New York is where I’d live if I could. Naropa is a scam, really. They give students little soundbites of ‘classes’ every week … Allen [Ginsberg] gave the place a humour and warmth in the summer. He could chant ...

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