A Guardian Book of the Year '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 . 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.>
"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.