Cleanness is a beautiful set of stories. The structure, style, and emotional depth that Garth Greenwell achieves is great, and completely merits the book’s reputation.
I consumed this via audiobook, which is read by Greenwell himself, and this ranks as one of the best read-by-author books I’ve listened to. His voice and the way he uses it could easily be mistaken for a seasoned voice actor. His tone - slightly apologetic and whimsical - is really pleasing to listen to.
A note for those who might be sensitive to certain content: Cleanness is very explicit. A lot of it is sex.
Greenwell uses metaphor and abstraction sparingly but when he does so, it’s perfect.
Immediately, catching sight of him, I found myself in that strange state of vibrancy and stasis, like a flame submerged in glass, sealed off as always when I feel desire I shouldn’t feel.
Like a flame submerged in glass. What a phrase.