$16 | Novel

Ben Gwin

Framed as the drug-addled memoir of addict-turned-reality TV star Ronald Reagan Middleton (annotated and published by floundering doctoral candidate Harold Swanger), Clean Time is a darkly comic satire set in a near-future America ravaged by addiction. In this sprawling and ambitious debut novel, Ben Gwin masterfully balances farce and irony with a genuine compassion for the large cast of characters that fumble through a nightmarish and all-too-familiar version of America.

Paperback // 6 x 9 // 320 pgs // $16
ISBN: 978–1–941681–70–1
Distributed by Asterism
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POD edition available from Ingram
ISBN: 978-1941681-00-8


“A vivid portrait of life in the druggy demimonde of petty scams, aimless loafing erupting in sudden violence, and epic pharmaceutical hangovers.”

“Ben Gwin writes like F. Scott Fitzgerald high on meth and Clean Time is The Great Gatsby for a generation that thinks fame is the answer to every question.”
–LORI JAKIELA author of Portrait of the Artist as a Bingo Worker

“A nightmarish dispatch from America in the age of Donald Trump.”
–DEREK GREEN author of New World Order

“If Vladimir Nabokov, George Saunders, Denis Johnson, and Hunter S. Thompson were trapped in an elevator for a month, they might conceivably come up with a book as funny, frightening, and entertaining as this one.”
–MICHAEL BYERS author of The Coast of Good Intentions

“Read Clean Time. It is many things; dark, inventive, hallucinatory, funny as hell, but above all just hard to put down. And like all journeys worth taking, you won’t always know where you’re headed, but do so with Gwin and you will be rewarded for it.”
–ADLAI YEOMANS owner of White Whale Bookstore

Clean Time is an exuberant debut from novelist Ben Gwin, a satirical vision of the American nightmare that’s a pure joy to read. Like a Nabokovian Eddie and the Cruisers, Gwin’s novel goes in search of the missing Ronald Reagan, break-out star of The Recovery Channel’s hit reality show Clean Time, and finds instead an America gone off its meds. Clean Time is a darkly comic odyssey through a land of serial killers, hipster poets, and Bob Seger.”
–KRISTOFER COLLINS Manager of Caliban Book Shop

Clean Time is a meta novel so good it will end all meta novels, a satire so current it reads like a headline in The New York Times. Ben Gwin has dumped the prison memoir, the recovery memoir, the academic treatise, and an unscrupulous blast of reality TV into the literary blender and come up with something entirely new and entertaining and horrifying.”
–DAVE NEWMAN author of Please Don’t Shoot Anyone Tonight


Ben Gwin‘s writing has appeared in The Normal School, Mary: a Journal of New Writing, Bridge Eight, Thin Noon, Belt Magazine and others. He’s taught creative writing to inmates in the Allegheny County Jail, and to veterans in the Pittsburgh VA. He lives in Pittsburgh with his daughter.