Swimming in the Dark (Hardcover)
William Morrow, 9780062890009, 208pp.
Publication Date: April 28, 2020
“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.
About the Author
Tomasz Jedrowski is a graduate of Cambridge University and Université de Paris. He was born in Germany to Polish parents, and has lived in several countries, including Poland, and currently lives in Paris, France, where he works in high-fashion. He speaks five languages and writes in English. This is his first novel.
Praise For Swimming in the Dark: A Novel…
— Justin Torres, bestselling author of We the Animals
"The surprise of Swimming in the Dark lies in its intimate ambivalence—that it captures the pleasures of everyday life behind the iron curtain as well as the privations. A beautiful, captivating love story that deepened my understanding of life in communist era Poland.”
— Jessica Shattuck, New York Times bestselling author of The Women in the Castle
"Marvelous, precise, poignant writing; the reader is happy to be overwhelmed. The highest talent at work."
— Sebastian Barry, award-winning author of Days Without End
"A stupendous read: I could not put the book down. I urge you to order this book now. Its eloquence, its understanding of identity, belonging, loneliness and love is second to none. Powerful and uplifting."
— Michael Cashman, co-founder of Stonewall and author of One of Them
"Beautifully judged, very moving, passionate… I was completely gripped."
— Patricia Duncker, award-winning author of Hallucinating Foucault
"This is a lyrical exploration of the conflict between gay love and political conformity. Jedrowski is an authentic new international star."
— Edmund White, award-winning author of Our Young Man
“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"