Tom MacWright

I read Cleanness by Garth Greenwell on


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.


  • Cleanness by
  • ISBN: 1250785669 (look up with WorldCat or Open Library)
  • Published:
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux