Clinical Intimacy

Clinical Intimacy


'A truly original literary mystery… A humane work that really seeks to understand… Like the best really serious novels, it’s profoundly uncomfortable, avoids easy dramatic answers and forces you to really think and question – yourself as much as its own narrative'
Luke Kennard, author of The Transition

S was a good person. Such a good person. They all told me that – so it had to be true.

S is unique. It seems that most people think so – his mother, his sister, his best friend, but relative strangers too. In fact, they and others all have much to say in the inquiry into S. When prompted, when the tape recorder in front of them clicks, a succession of family, friends and professional contacts in turn describe his shapeshifting charisma. All struggle to account for the enigmatic figure who has wandered through their lives, doing some good things – and some bad. Yet as they talk, it becomes apparent that they are not so much telling his story, as they are their own – of their common need for love, touch, retribution, closure. Together, their tissue of voices reveal the complexity of care.

In a series of intimate snapshots charting the relations of one ordinary yet extraordinary man, Clinical Intimacy explores the emotional conditions and moral consequences of a life lived in service of satisfying others.


  • Clinical Intimacy is a fascinating exercise in understanding a life through the shadows it casts in other people's lives. It asks us whether great kindness can be a pathology, or if it is just pathologized by people to whom it is alien. Beautifully conceived and written, psychologically and politically acute, this is a debut of great breadth and power.
    Sandra Newman, author of Julia

About the author

Ewan Gass

Ewan Gass was born in Nottingham. When eight years old he stuck to his bedroom door a typewritten note outlining his desire to become a writer. He has worked as a journalist and teacher in Cambridge, London, Paris and New York. He now lives in Munich. His short story 'Questionnaire' was shortlisted for the White Review short story competition in 2020. Other work has appeared in 3:AM. Clinical Intimacy is his first novel.
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