2011. ISBN-13: 978-1-4507-6214-4/ISBN-10: 1-4507-6214-4
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Winner of the 2010 Miami University Press Novella Contest
On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American newly arrived in a foreign city pays a young man for sex. Over the next months, as what at first seems an uncomplicated transaction deepens into something more intricate and unnerving, his discovery of the geography and griefs of an unfamiliar country is accompanied by the unfolding of Mitko’s own narrative, his private history of illness, exploitation, and want. The story of a desire that grows increasingly ambivalent, poised between submission, need, and resentment, Mitko is a powerful meditation on the chances of history and privilege, on mutual predation, and on our inability to know with any certainty the natures of others or our own fugitive selves.
Reviews & Such
Okla Elliott included Mitko in his list of “Five Short Fiction Books I Read and Liked a Lot in 2012” in the December 27, 2012 edition of the Heavy Feather Review. He also includes MU Press in his list of “Five Literary Presses to Watch in 2013.”
For the second year in a row, Mitko was mentioned in the Band of Thebes “best of” list, this time twice. Rahul Mehta, whose book won the Lambda debut prize, writes “Garth Greenwell’s dark and poetic novella, Mitko, devastated me.” And from Paul Russell: “Garth Greenwell’s short novel Mitko—a wonderful debut, alive with complex sentences and complex lives.”
Nouvella included Mitko in its list of recommended novellas.
Next Magazine featured Mitko in its Outwords column on May 9, 2012.
The Lambda Literary Foundation nominated Mitko for its 24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards, Gay Debut Fiction category.
The Publishing Triangle named Mitko was a finalist for its Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction. The judges noted: “Intoxicating and powerful, Garth Greenwell’s Mitko is a journal of detail and desire, a haunting rumination of hope and passion. In this complex novella, Greenwell reminds us that elegant prose and a respect for literary tradition can occasionally lead to something utterly original. Mitko is both dreamy and a dream.”
Mitko was named as a “best book” or “favorite read” of 2011 by the following reviewers:
- David Pratt, Lambda Literary
- Matthew Hittinger
- Kyle Minor, Big Other
- Richard Labonte, Book Marks
- Peter Cameron, Band of Thebes
David Pratt reviewed Mitko on Out in Print on November 3, 2011.
Read the conversation with Garth on The Migrant Bookclub Blog, posted on October 18, 2011.
Stephen Bottum reviewed Mitko on his Band of Thebes blog on September 20, 2011.
Shara Lessley of The Rumpus chatted with Garth on September 2, 2011.
Open Letters Monthly reviewed Mitko in July, 2011.
The Sofia Echo featured Garth and Mitko June 17, 2011.
Read the May 19, 2011 “Author Spotlight” by Sean Lovelace on HTMLGiant.
Kyle Minor caught up with Garth on HTMLGiant on May 29, 2011.
“In Mitko Garth Greenwell displays a dazzling ability to negotiate the shadowy boundary between lust and longing. The story is thoroughly modern, but the elegance of his style, his devotion to his characters, and his Jamesian skill in parsing emotions give this narration a timeless quality. A splendid debut.” —Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street
“Mitko is a haunting and compelling meditation on erotic obsession, loneliness, and power. Garth Greenwell writes with the intensity and urgency of a poet, and his novella takes on the weight and impact of a much longer work of fiction.” —Stephen McCauley, author of The Object of My Affection
“Garth Greenwell’s Mitko is a work of enormous verbal energy in the service of a vision punishing and remorseless. An anatomy of desire and disappointment in a life “pitched almost always beneath the pitch of poetry” yet captured in language alert to every prospect of beauty, however compromised and fleeting.” —Robert Boyers, author of The Dictator’s Dictation
“In this lyrical and sophisticated exploration of tormented desire and romantic obsession, Garth Greenwell unfurls a story of love and life in a faraway place that is finely observed and deeply felt. His voice is elegant and original; his prose graceful, seductive and full of yearning.” —David Francis, author of Stray Dog Winter
“Mitko is a novella of astonishing force and poignance, and Garth Greenwell’s Sofia, Bulgaria, brings to mind Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin or the Saigon of Marguerite Duras.” —Honor Moore, author of The Bishop’s Daughter
About the Author
Garth Greenwell lives in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he teaches at the American College of Sofia. Mitko is his first book.
About the Cover
The cover image is Plate 347 in Eadweard Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion series, completed between 1884 and 1886. Miami University Press thanks the University of Pennsylvania Library for providing a digital copy of the image for the cover.