I’ve sat on this book for over a week after finishing it, wanting the time to reflect on it. The first thing that comes to mind is that this is a quiet book. The language is quiet despite all its beauty and strength and force. And as I was reading, I almost felt like I was reading a foreign novel that had been translated into English. This is not a criticism; it’s just a feeling I got as I was reading.
The novel’s foreignness comes honestly (for me, a cis/hetero/white American woman). It takes place in Bulgaria, a country I’ve never been to, and the protagonist is a gay American man who teaches English there. The only thing I have extensive knowledge of is teaching English in a European country, and there is only one classroom scene in the whole novel. Good thing, because that’s not why I chose to read it. (Although I will admit that the “American in a foreign country” scenario was attractive to me.)
No, I was reading this novel because it popped onto my book radar some time in late January, and then a friend posted about reading it on Facebook, and I decided that I *had* to get my hands on it. And then I took my time with it. It’s beautifully written.
I love novels that take me outside my own experience. And “What Belongs to You” certainly did. I highly recommend it; this is one of those books that makes you sit up and take notice and makes you think. And I know I said this about the last book I wrote about here, but this would make a great movie.