A Guardian Book of the Year
‘Tomasz Jedrowski’s Swimming in the Dark is captivating on the twin challenge of being both gay and liberal in communist Poland. An enchanting story of coming out and surviving, just, in a cold climate’ Andrew Adonis, Evening Standard Books of the Year
‘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.