Swimming in the dark : a novel

by Jedrowski, Tomasz,

Format: Print Book 2020
Availability: Available at 6 Libraries 6 of 9 copies
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CLP - Brookline Fiction FICTION Jedrowski
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CLP - East Liberty LGBTQ FICTION Jedrowski
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CLP - South Side Fiction FICTION Jedrowski
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Monroeville Public Library New Books JEDROWSKI TOMASZ
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Mt. Lebanon Public Library New Books JEDROWSKI Tomasz
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Scott Township Library New Material FIC JEDROW SWIMMI
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Summary

"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, The Oprah Magazine

"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 André 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 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 government position. 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, postwar politics, intrigue, and history. Lyrical and sensual, immersive and intense, Tomasz Jedrowski's indelible and thought-provoking literary debut explores freedom and love in all its incarnations.

Published Reviews
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Jedrowski's dazzling debut charts an evocative sexual awakening and coming of age amid political unease in early 1980s Poland. At a summer work camp in 1980, 22-year-old Ludwik Głowacki meets the broad-shouldered Janusz, with whom he discusses the repression and loneliness of gay men in their society. In second-person narration addressed to his new friend and lover, Ludwik reflects on furtive childhood desires ("Years of yearning compressed like a muscle, pulsating mercilessly") and describes their secret savoring of a banned James Baldwin book. Despite their ease of connection, Ludwik and Janusz are on opposite sides of a political divide: Janusz is happy to work within the system and gets a government job deciding which books should be published, which Ludwik--who has to carefully craft a literary doctoral thesis that won't go against the party line--sees as censorship. Additionally, Janusz's sexual relationship with a wealthy young woman named Hania, which he carries on in hopes of benefiting from her father's political connections, creates conflict between the two men. Readers will relish the indelible prose, which approaches the mastery of Alan Hollinghurst. Jedrowski's portrayal of Poland's tumultuous political transformation over several decades makes this a provocative, eye-opening exploration of the costs of defying as well as complying with social and political conventions. (Apr.)Correction: An earlier version of this review misspelled the author's last name."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Gay men -- Poland -- Fiction.
Interpersonal relations -- Fiction.
Secrecy -- Fiction.
Closeted gays -- Fiction.
Political culture -- Poland -- History -- Fiction.
Poland -- Social conditions -- 1980-1989 -- Fiction.
Romance fiction.
Gay fiction.
Bildungsromans.
Historical fiction.
Political fiction.
Publisher New York, NY :2020
Edition First U.S. edition.
Language English
Description 191 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9780062890009
006289000X
Other Classic View