25 Excellent Novels About Americans Abroad


What Belongs to You, Garth Greenwell

In this luminous novel, an American man living and teaching in Bulgaria enters into a fraught relationship with the young and strangely compelling Mitko, whom he pays for sex but wants — what? This is in large part the thrust (no pun intended) of the novel: the uncertain ache of desire, of passion, and then the space where it once was. Even if that doesn’t appeal to you, you cold thing, you won’t fail to be moved and dazzled by Greenwell’s sentences, each one glorious, reflecting both the world and the mind of the narrator. You can tell this novelist has another life as a poet. Anyway: read this book.

(Side note: What Belongs to You has been getting some criticism as a bad title, but it makes me think of that old riddle: what belongs to you but others use more often? Considering Mitko is the only character named here, I find it sort of poetic.)