Dawn, a self-employed cleaning lady in upstate New York, agrees to pose in the houses she cleans for her friend Matthew’s provocative photography project. Over the course of one week, she and Matthew scour the contents of each home to find inspiration but what she uncovers instead is an unexpected connection to the people who live there: from the shy Bridget Riley, and the recent immigrant Wei Chen, to the pretentious Robert McIntyre. But it’s the troubled housewife, Barb, and the contents of her life that finally force Dawn to confront her darkest secret about the death of her fiancé. Coming Clean is a novel of forgiveness, family, and fresh starts.
Praise for Coming Clean
“Beth Uznis Johnson’s debut novel Coming Clean is a sharp, sexy, pressure chamber of a book. Earthy and carnal like the work of Lisa Taddeo, darkly complex like Ottesssa Moshfegh’s Eileen, Dawn is a cleaning lady with a lot going on in her head, and a keen interest what boundaries she can push as she makes a kind of peace with grief. In these pages, we find the razor’s edge where everyday life tips over into art. Read it once for what happens, and then again for what’s earned.”
—Ashley Warlick, author of The Arrangement
“Raw and unflinching, Coming Clean exposes a young woman’s guilt and grief over the loss of her fiancé. Dawn cleans other people’s houses, peeking under the sheets and peering inside closets, revealing the most intimate secrets of families vastly different from herself. Her tenacious quest for these hidden truths evolves into a search for her own self-acceptance. Dawn is witty and sharp, brave and impulsive, and through her journey, readers will discover there’s a little bit of Dawn in each of us.”
—Carla Damron, author of The Orchid Tattoo and The Stone Necklace