Garth Greenwell’s intriguing novel opens in the bathrooms (the American euphemism that encompasses urinals and public lavatories) of the National Palace of Culture in Sofia. It is there that the anonymous narrator meets Mitko, a brash young hustler with a chipped front tooth and a large cock. The storyteller, whose name is too difficult for Bulgarians to pronounce, is instantly smitten by this wild creature, even though he reeks of alcohol. He becomes obsessed with Mitko, and this obsession is at the heart of What Belongs to You, which has already been hailed in America as a masterpiece and an ‘instant classic’.
The book appears to be autobiographical, as is the fashion in fiction right now. Greenwell, who was born and raised in Kentucky, is a poet and critic, a specialist in lesbian and gay literature and a lecturer in creative writing who taught for some years at the American College in