Swimming in the Dark

Swimming in the Dark Review

Set in early 1980s Poland against the violent decline of communism, a tender and passionate story of first love between two young men who eventually find themselves on opposite sides of the political divide—a stunningly poetic and heartrending literary debut for fans of Andre Aciman, Garth Greenwell, and Alan Hollinghurst.

When university student Ludwik meets Janusz at a summer agricultural camp, he is fascinated yet wary of this handsome, carefree stranger. But a chance meeting by the river soon becomes an intense, exhilarating, and all-consuming affair. After their camp duties are fulfilled, the pair spend a dreamlike few weeks camping in the countryside, bonding over an illicit copy of James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room. Inhabiting a beautiful natural world removed from society and its constraints, Ludwik and Janusz fall deeply in love. But in their repressive communist and Catholic society, the passion they share is utterly unthinkable.

Once they return to Warsaw, the charismatic Janusz quickly rises in the political ranks of the party and is rewarded with a highly-coveted position in the ministry. Ludwik is drawn toward impulsive acts of protest, unable to ignore rising food prices and the stark economic disparity around them. Their secret love and personal and political differences slowly begin to tear them apart as both men struggle to survive in a regime on the brink of collapse.

Shifting from the intoxication of first love to the quiet melancholy of growing up and growing apart, Swimming in the Dark is a potent blend of romance, post-war politics, intrigue, and history. Lyrical and sensual, immersive and intense, Tomasz Jedrowski has crafted an indelible and thought-provoking literary debut that explores freedom and love in all its incarnations.

Title:Swimming in the Dark
Edition Language:English

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    Swimming in the Dark Reviews

  • Kai

    when the dedication almost makes you cry, you know you're in for a good one...

  • Elyse  Walters

    Swimming in the Dark is a debut novel by Tomasz Jedrowski a graduate from Cambridge University and the University of Paris. Born in Germany to college parents, he has lived in several countries, incl...

  • Anna Luce

    ★★★★✰ 4 starsIts best to start with the beginningor at least what feels like it. I realise now that we never much talked about our pasts. Maybe it would changed something if we had, maybe we...

  • anna ( of readsrainbow)

    i'm a polish gay and i deserve to read this novel abt historical polish gays as soon as possible, thanks for agreeing @ edelweiss...

  • Dennis

    Swimming in the Dark is Tomasz Jedrowski's debut novel, but this elegantly written queer historical fiction novel is so profound that you'd never know it. Set in Post-World War 2 Poland, the central...

  • Roman Clodia

    An elegiac love story filled with melancholy and longing as the narrator struggles with sexual identity against the repressive background of Poland under Soviet rule. The writing flows easily but is s...

  • Jonathan

    I think I've said it before but there is a great opportunity now to be able to give gay men's lives some historical context in novels. This one is set in 1980 in communist Poland, around the time that...

  • Erik

    "Swimming in the Dark" is Tomasz Jedrowski's debut novel, and from the turn of the first page this story of young love, lost love, and dystopian realities will have you hooked.Following Ludzio as he f...

  • The Artisan Geek

    28/2/20Got super lucky and found a copy of this book last week during my book scavenging hunt ! :)You can find me onYoutube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website...

  • Ben Howard

    Told from Ludwik Glowacki's perspective, as if he were writing a letter to Janusz. We follow them as their relationship on at and agricultural camp after their final year at university, and beyond as ...