‘This is an exceptional work of fiction, which places Greenwell among the very best contemporary novelists’ The i Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, stirs with hope and impending upheaval. Soviet buildings crumble, unrelenting winds lash the city, political protesters flood the streets with song. Amid this disquiet, a young American teacher prepares to leave the place he’s come to call home. In a reflective mood, heightened by his imminent departure, he grapples with the intimate encounters that have marked his years abroad, each revealing startling insights about what it means to seek connection: with those we love, with the places we inhabit and with ourselves. Written in precise, elegant prose, Cleanness is an almost unbearably poignant book about a man whose life, like so many, has been transformed by the discovery and loss of love. Chosen as a book of the year in the New Yorker, Daily Telegraph, Observer, New York Times, BBC, TIME and Irish Times. A New York Times Notable Book of 2020. Longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize.