Swimming in the Dark
LONGLISTED FOR THE POLARI PRIZE 2021
A Guardian Book of the Year
‘The highest talent at work’ Sebastian Barry
‘Beautiful … A masterpiece’ Attitude
Poland, 1980. Shy, anxious Ludwik has been sent along with the rest of his university class to an agricultural camp. Here he meets Janusz – and together they spend a dreamlike summer falling in love.
But with summer over, the two are sent back to Warsaw. Confronted by the scrutiny, intolerance and corruption of life under the Party, Ludwik and Janusz must decide how they will survive; and in their different choices, find themselves torn apart.
‘An affecting and unusual romance’ Observer
‘A new classic’ Evening Standard
‘A beautiful novel, and at its heart an amazing love story’ BBC Radio 4 Open Book, Editor’s Pick
‘Jedrowski is an authentic new international star’ Edmund White
‘A remarkable, beautiful tale, utterly new and entirely credible … This book radiates sensuality, humour, and human truths’ Literary Review
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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