Swimming in the Dark
A Guardian Book of the Year
‘Tomasz Jedrowski’s Swimming in the Dark is captivating on the twin challenge of being both gay and liberal in communist Poland. An enchanting story of coming out and surviving, just, in a cold climate’ Andrew Adonis, Evening Standard Books of the Year
‘One of the most astonishing contemporary gay novels we have ever read … A masterpiece’ Attitude
‘A beautiful novel, and at its heart it was an amazing love story and I think that’s something that everyone is looking for’ BBC Radio 4 Open Book, Editor’s Pick
‘Marvellous, precise, poignant writing; the reader is happy to be overwhelmed. The highest talent at work’ SEBASTIAN BARRY
‘A lyrical exploration of the conflict between gay love and political conformity. Jedrowski is an authentic new international star’ EDMUND WHITE
You were right when you said that people can’t always give us what we want from them.
Poland, 1980. Anxious, disillusioned Ludwik Glowacki, soon to graduate university, has been sent along with the rest of his class to an agricultural camp. Here he meets Janusz – and together, they spend a dreamlike summer swimming in secluded lakes, reading forbidden books – and falling in love.
But with summer over, the two are sent back to Warsaw, and to the harsh realities of life under the Party. Exiled from paradise, Ludwik and Janusz must decide how they will survive; and in their different choices, find themselves torn apart.
Swimming in the Dark is an unforgettable debut about youth, love, and loss – and the sacrifices we make to live lives with meaning.
Marvellous, precise, poignant writing; the reader is happy to be overwhelmed. The highest talent at work — SEBASTIAN BARRY An enthralling debut — TASH AW * TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT * A remarkable, beautiful tale … Utterly new and entirely credible … This book radiates sensuality, humour, and human truths … Swimming in the Dark is sensual and immersive, and Ludwik’s sentimental education is so well described that the reader is left wanting more. You won’t want to miss it * LITERARY REVIEW * Elegant, compelling and full of melancholy beauty … I will keep it on my shelves alongside novels by Alan Hollinghurst, Edmund White and other classics in the gay canon * EVENING STANDARD * One of the most astonishing contemporary gay novels we have ever read … extraordinarily beautiful, enrapturing and poignant … Erotic, mesmeric, heart-rending and brutal, this is a masterpiece * ATTITUDE * A young Polish author who writes rather miraculously in English, of which he has magisterial and frankly, Conradian command * Guardian, Books of the Year * New Year, New Writers … Swimming in the Dark is an unforgettable debut about youth, love, and loss – and the sacrifices we make to live lives with meaning — Foyles.co.uk Beautifully judged, very moving, passionate … I was completely gripped — PATRICIA DUNCKER Captivating both for its shimmering surfaces and its terrifying under-deep. I began reading, and soon realized I wouldn’t be doing anything else that day. I needed to see these boys, these lovers, through to the end. Tomasz Jedrowski is a remarkable writer, alive to the ramifications of history and politics, in which the violence of a corrupt state can never fully stamp out the flourishing of beauty, grace and resistance — JUSTIN TORRES, bestselling author of We the Animals The surprise of Swimming in the Dark lies in its intimate ambivalence – that it captures the pleasures of everyday life behind the Iron Curtain as well as the privations. A beautiful, captivating love story that deepened my understanding of life in communist era Poland — Jessica Shattuck, New York Times bestselling author of The Women in the Castle A lyrical exploration of the conflict between gay love and political conformity. Jedrowski is an authentic new international star — EDMUND WHITE
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