Remember When A Dream Appears (Book Thoughts: What Belongs To You, Garth Greenwell)

28580741I read a headline the other day that says that Garth Greenwell’s “What Belongs To You” is the best new gay novel. I have to disagree – I found the book to be one of the best novels of this generation, never mind gay. It is one of those books that after reading, you want to read over again. As a matter of fact, since I read the Kindle version, this is a book I would want to physically own, a first edition, so I could proudly display it on my shelf (Do people still do that? I know I do) It’s been an hour or so since I read the last word from the book, and it’s been a haunted hour for me – the characters have lingered with me, and I am desperate to find out what happened to them, specifically the narrator – an American teacher in Bulgaria, and Mitka, the hustler he meets at the Sofia’s National Palace Of Culture. Their lives become intertwined after, and in my mind they will forever be. Some people may looj at this as a story of unrequited love, but I think otherwise. This is as deep love gets for two people, but the only thing we have to understand is that these two people give the most love that they can give to one another. We can look at it as uneven, but it’s not. One may no”Ct be able to give you the love you expect them to give you, but if they are giving it to you the best they know how and can, then it’s  the best love in the world. Greenwell’s words are lyrical and poetic that I find myself reading and re-reading the sentences, as if I want to cling to them. He writes these very long paragraphs with thoughts coming out almost in a stream of consciousness style, rat-tat-tat like a machine gun, emotions bursting, words breathless coming from the heart in the middle of passion. The third act was devastating I found myself so attached that I felt palpitations. This is a book for someone who already understands life, and it mirrors things you have gone through, especially if you are a gay man. Quite possibly the best gay novel I have read since Andre Aciman’s ‘Call Me By Your Name.” Five Glittering Stars.

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