Swimming in the Dark is a great book by Tomasz Jedrowski.
“Imagine Call Me By Your Name set in Communist Poland and you’ll feel Jedrowski’s moving debut about a harrowing love affair between a divided country.”
Set in the early 1980s, Poland resists the violent decline of communism, a tender and passionate story about the first love between two young men, who eventually find themselves in two different places. opposition in political division – a poetic and moving literary debut for fans of Andre Aciman, Garth Greenwell and Alan Hollinghurst.
When college student Ludwik meets Janusz at a summer farm, he is drawn to but wary of this handsome, carefree stranger. But a chance encounter by the river soon turns into an intense, exhilarating, and all-consuming affair. After completing their camp duties, the pair spend a dreamlike few weeks camping in the countryside, bonded together via an illegal copy of James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room. Living in a beautiful natural world, isolated from society and its constraints, Ludwik and Janusz fall passionately in love. But in their repressive communist and Catholic society, the passion they share is completely unimaginable.
When they returned to Warsaw, the charismatic Janusz rapidly rose through the political ranks of the party and was rewarded with a highly coveted position in the ministry. Ludwik was attracted by impulsive protests, unable to ignore soaring food prices and the stark economic disparities around them. Their secret love and personal and political differences slowly begin to divide them as both men struggle to survive in a regime that is on the verge of collapse.
Shifting from the passion of first love to the quiet melancholy of growing up and being apart, Swimming in the Dark is a powerful blend of romance, postwar politics, intrigue and history. Lyrical and sensual, immersive and intense, Tomasz Jedrowski has created an indelible and thought-provoking literary debut that explores freedom and love in all its incarnations.
I recently read “Swimming in the Dark: Fiction” and was completely moved by this beautiful story. The author, Tomasz Jedrowski, takes the reader to 1980s Poland, where we follow the life of Ludwik, a young man who falls in love with his classmate Janusz. Despite the social pressures and political turmoil of the time, their love endures and the novel explores the complexities of their relationship.
Jedrowski’s writing is so vivid and descriptive, I feel like I’m right there with Ludwik as he overcomes the challenges of being gay in a repressive society. The characters are very well developed and their struggles are understandable and heartbreaking. I find myself supporting Ludwik and Janusz every step of the way.
Overall, “Swimming in the Dark” is a powerful and moving novel that will stay with me for a long time. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a work that is thought-provoking and emotionally resonant.
This is one of the most convincing stories I’ve read about first love that outshines most gay novels. It reads like a first novel based on personal experience, if not an autobiography, and there isn’t a single wrong note throughout the book. Furthermore, despite the constant danger of exposure under the repressive Cold War regime in Poland and their vastly different expectations, the way the two main characters handle their relationship is believable and relatable. remains the same when the narrator moves to the United States. This new novel is very upbeat and life affirming and I highly recommend reading it.
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