Happy New Year Autre Readers,
I want to tell you about a book that you should read in 2016. I have never written a book review before, but I’ve read a lot of them and had my own book reviewed a couple dozen times, and therefore know that I hate them—they are too long, usually, and too bombastic and too laudatory and too much too much. They either show off or get goopy or refer to too many old works or take shots at the work or as is usually the case are written by friends of the author and biased and shit.
Let’s talk about cocaine. There is hardly any of it that is real anymore. Agreed? I am sober, as in I don’t do drugs anymore, but let’s say that I did have a little taste of toot the other night, as fiction, let’s say that, and that the taste on my tongue was definitely watered down, i.e. stepped on, meth coke bullshit. It’s everywhere, right?
We don’t want our funk stepped on. If there was real coke, in the fiction, I would as a fictional character done a line, and as the Byrds sing, would offer you to take a whiff on me, which is what I will do later in this review. I’ll offer you to take a whiff on me of some real coke.
Garth Greenwell has got your coke, and I’m going to give you a little whiff of his supply, in the sense that Garth has the straight numb your face off wake up powder in the novel he is releasing this month with FSG titled, WHAT BELONGS TO YOU.
This novel, and no I don’t know Garth, was recommended by an author I admire, Alex Che, and so I asked for an ARC (advanced reader’s copy) from Grant and he agreed and sent me over a copy. I read the first page and was keenly aware that Grant has the coke. This masterpiece of his begins in a public bathroom underneath the Sofia National Palace of Culture in Bulgaria where the narrator tells us he first spied the object of his lust and desire, a hustler of charisma with a jagged tooth who is rolling a joint in a stall with another man when the narrator first pays the hustler to let him suck the hustler’s cock in the bathroom. The book goes from there with the intensity of interpersonal drama and identity that brings to mind Oscar Wilde, Fitzgerald, Plath, Nabokov, and is nothing short of our first masterpiece…there I go again doing the thing I hate, the book is a masterpiece. I’m going to give you those tastes I promised now, but as you will see, this book and the writing are something we don’t get anymore. They are a taste of real coke, only without the gasoline, murder, death, guilt, corruption that goes into cocaine. Writing like this simply doesn’t come around anymore. The majority of what we get to read from living authors is part meth at best. This is the pure shit. Enjoy. Text by Luke Goebel. We were going to include some excerpts from the Greenwell's new novel, but all the lit mags, like the Paris Review, claimed dibs, so you may as well just purchase "What Belongs To You: A Novel" here