Swimming in the Dark
“Imagine Call Me By Your Name set in Communist Poland and you'll get a sense of Jedrowski's moving debut about a consuming love affair amidst a country being torn apart.” — O Magazine, LGBTQ Books That’ll Change the Literary Landscape in 2020
“Captivating both for its shimmering surfaces and its terrifying depths. Tomasz Jedrowski is a remarkable writer.” — Justin Torres, bestselling author of We the Animals
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.
Fabulous story about first love!!
The brutal reality of first loves, lives intersected, and sacrifices made to say I love you. This book was moving and had me near tears a few times. The narrator had a deep connection to the written words, and was a perfect selection to narrate. This story left me wanting more, wanting to hear what happened in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s considering how much the world has progressed. Wonderful book, beautiful characters, a story that sparked a lot of emotion in me.
Swimming In The Dark
The narrator is a rock star. His voice is nothing short of intoxicating. This is a beautiful story about the coming of age of young Ludwig in 1979 Poland. I could not put it down. You’ll be sad when it’s over.