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Swimming in the Dark

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4.23  ·  Rating details ·  6,378 ratings  ·  1,147 reviews
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 su
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ebook, 208 pages
Published April 28th 2020 by William Morrow (first published February 6th 2020)
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Tomasz Jedrowski Hello Biko, it depends on your level. The language is not exactly simple...but the Polish edition is absolutely beautiful: https://www.osnovapublishin…moreHello Biko, it depends on your level. The language is not exactly simple...but the Polish edition is absolutely beautiful: https://www.osnovapublishing.pl/
By the way the original is in English.
Enjoy, whichever edition you pick!
Tomasz (less)

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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  6,378 ratings  ·  1,147 reviews


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Will Byrnes
…we can never run with our lies indefinitely. Sooner or later we are forced to confront their darkness. We can choose the when not the if. And the longer we wait, the more painful and uncertain it will be.
This is a stunning work of surpassing beauty!

description
Tomasz Jedrowski - image from Interview Magazine

Ludwik Glowaki did not fit in. Communist Poland in the 1980s. A period when the old regime was beginning to crumble. A time when being gay was a criminal offense.

Ludwik, living in New York City, lo
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Kai
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, owned
when the dedication almost makes you cry, you know you're in for a good one ...more
Larry H
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars, rounded up.

Swimming in the Dark is a gorgeous story about love, longing, sacrifice, and secrets.

Ludwik and Janusz first meet at a Polish summer work camp in the early 1980s. Ludwik is mesmerized by Janusz’s carefree manner, his bravado, and his handsomeness, all of which awaken a longing which frightens him. The two connect by chance one night at the river, and they quickly fall into an intense relationship.

When their time in camp is done, they spend a few weeks alone together, ca
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Elyse  Walters
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Swimming in the Dark” is a debut novel by Tomasz Jedrowski — a graduate from Cambridge University and the University of Paris. Born in Germany to college parents, he has lived in several countries, including Poland, and currently lives outside Paris, France.

This tender-compassionately-told story is set in the early 1980’s Poland….set against the violent decline of communism.

At the very beginning of the story we are introduced to a memory from when Ludwik, (in his 20’s), was a young 9 year old
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Sahil Javed
Swimming in the Dark is Tomasz Jedrowski’s debut novel. Set in early 1980s Poland, amidst the decline of communism, it tells the story of the relationship that develops between Ludwik and Janusz, two students who meet and then develop a relationship at a summer camp, only to find themselves on two opposites sides of the political divide.
“I don’t know whether I ever want you to read this, but I know that I need to write it. Because you've been on my mind for too long. I am done with pret
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Frank Phillips
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such a short book that packed such an amazing punch!! This was queer historical fiction at its finest, I'm absolutely gutted! As heartbreaking as this book was to read, I found myself wanting more, thinking 191 pages is not nearly enough! I wanted so much more of this story, I wanted to know what happens with Ludik and Janusz down the road?! Do their paths cross again? Does Ludwik find some form of happiness? My goodness, I've never found myself craving so upon finishing a novel. This f ...more
Shile
5+++++++ "I adored this book more than you knew,"Stars.

Warning! Quotes! Quotes and more Quotes.

I walked home slowly. The air was suffocating. The sky was grey, and sticky wind blew through the streets, swirling up dust. The few people around looked hurried, caught inside their own minds even more than usual, their faces like masks.

description

GAAAAAAAHHH! I went into this one blind, after another convincing review from my friend Annery

This is the story of Ludwik.

Told in my favourite POV ever, 2nd person
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Nataliya
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-reads
“My life was a tiny narrow corridor with no doors leading off it, a tunnel so narrow it bruised my elbows, with only one way to go. That or the void, I told myself. That or leave.”
This book speaks in a quiet voice, but the surprising strength of a quiet and lyrical voice can be unexpectedly mesmerizing.

The setting is Warsaw, Socialist Republic of Poland in 1980 - the Soviet period, full of stifling bureaucracy, food shortages and endless queues for some and rich great and fun life of excess
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AnnaLuce
★★★★✰ 4 stars

“It’s best to start with the beginning—or at least what feels like it. I realise now that we never much talked about our pasts. Maybe it would changed something if we had, maybe we would have understood each other better and everything would have been different. Who can say?”


Swimming in the Dark is a strikingly elegiac novel. The story, in its broadest terms, explores a young man’s identity and sexuality under Communist Poland.
In December 13th 1981 martial law is declared in the Soc
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anna (½ of readsrainbow)
i'm a polish gay and i deserve to read this novel abt historical polish gays as soon as possible, thanks for agreeing @ edelweiss ...more
Doug
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5, rounded up.

While I can see why the names Aciman, Greenwell and Hollinghurst are invoked in the synopsis, to me the more relevant antecedent would be Kundera, and this read to me as nothing less than a gay Polish The Unbearable Lightness of Being. For a debut novel, Jedrowski has a firm hold on his material, and though there are a few passages that are a bit overly flowery, or oppositely, seem stilted (I had to look to see if this was indeed translated into English early on), for the most pa
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Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
💌 Some memorable lines (in order of appearance):

📌 "It was the sort of early summer that erases any memory of other seasons, one where light and warmth clasp and feed you to the absolute."

📌 "This is how I lived back then - through books. I locked myself into their stories, dreamt of their characters at night, pretended to be them. They were my armour against the hard edges of reality."

📌 "The law of gravity applies to memories too."

📌 "With the inexplicable logic of dreams, I was certain that I was
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Dennis
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Swimming in the Dark is Tomasz Jedrowski's debut novel, but this elegantly written queer historical fiction novel is so profound that you'd never know it. Set in Post-World War 2 Poland, the central character Ludwik is navigating life through communism while battling his own demons.

As Ludwik develops his distain for Poland's communist restrictions, he also comes to terms with his sexuality. The novel is written as an epic love letter or story to one of the most important people in his life,
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Roman Clodia
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it
An elegiac love story filled with melancholy and longing as the narrator struggles with sexual identity against the repressive background of Poland under Soviet rule. The writing flows easily but is spoilt at times through overwriting, especially in the figurative language and forced similes and metaphors. The details of everyday life in Poland are involving and I like that there's no miraculous ending. An intimate book with an emotive aura, simple but striking: 3.5 stars

ARC from NetGalley
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David
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am a sucker for the tragedy! Who is to blame here? Society? The Party? Janusz? Ludwik? Hania? The author paints every scene with just the right details to let your mind vividly imagine every scene: from working in the fields, to the lake, to the cities, to the tram, to the gatherings of people. The sexual encounters are lean, but their placement and meaning is clear. There is so much more going on in this book.

There are parents and grand parents and societal pressures here. You must remain tru
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*•.¸✽ Damjana ✽¸.•*
5+++STARS

»And the odds had been stacked against us from the start: we had no manual, no one to show us the way. Not one example of a happy couple made up of boys. How were we supposed to know what to do? Did we even believe that we deserved to get away with happiness?«




This is one of those books I will never forget. I have shelf 6-stars-unforgettable‎ and here I keep books I remember often during my everyday life and they won't ever be forgotten by me. I could say I keep them near my hea
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James
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to James by: benj landman
Boy meets boy, falling in then out of love, in Jedrowski’s debut novel that, while peppered with moments of understated beauty (especially in the first three chapters), ultimately left me cold. As Ludwik grapples with “a vast cavernous emptiness inside [him],” so too does Swimming in the Dark struggle with the same, often feeling less like its own book, with a distinctive singular voice, than a book of books, their echoes patchworked—not necessarily intentionally, probably subconsciously—from ot ...more
Erik
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt
"Swimming in the Dark" is Tomasz Jedrowski's debut novel, and from the turn of the first page this story of young love, lost love, and dystopian realities will have you hooked.

Following Ludzio as he falls in love with Janusz all while confronting the ghosts of the USSR in 1980s Poland, this story shows life for gay people behind the iron curtain. This novel, though, is far more than just a love story; it's a story about the ways in which our politics and our position in society can shape, and di
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Lyn❤Loves❤Listening #AUDIOBOOKADDICT
9.9.20
The audio is currently on sale for $5.00 to audible members until 9/17/20. Will M Watt narrates and he's definitely a talented performer.

https://www.audible.com/pd/Swimming-i...
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CarolynMarieReads
Oh my poor broken heart!
I offer wonder why it is that I love heartbreaking love stories so much? Maybe it's the strange satisfaction that comes with such powerful emotions. Maybe it's the way they feel more honest and true. Or maybe I like seeing that not all types of love are loves that end a story, but begin a new one. Maybe it's all three. Maybe it's more than just these three. But I do. I love a tragical romance.

My one question is: Why haven't I heard more people talk about this STUNNING bo
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Annery
This is being marketed as a close kin to Call Me by Your Name and in a sense it is. However where André Aciman's story was sweet and almost ethereal like a perfect summer pop song or a lemon gelato Swimming in the Dark will leave teeth marks and possibly scars. It should.

The blurb does a good job of summarizing the story so I won't rehash it. What mesmerized me was Tomasz Jedrowski's lyrical style, his use of language which is at once poetic and cutting like a knife. Ludwik's journey of self dis
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Bill Khaemba
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Guys, I loved this one... I need to own a physical copy so I can caress it. Wow! The existence of prose like this makes me not even dare to write my own book, cinematic experience with the help of an amazing Audiobook. A complex queer love story set in the 1980s Poland with picturesque grim scenery, exploring internal vs external conflict as our main protagonist grapples with first love and his uncertain future due to Poland's political climate. The melodrama fit perfectly with the darkness of ...more
Claire
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Very, very good novel about forbidden love, and the struggle to acknowledge and accept one’s own identity. The claustrophobic background of communist Poland (which appealed to this History geek) really serves this novel well, as an element of plot, but also a setting which actively builds uncertainty, isolation, and fear throughout this novel. Beyond the odd patch of what felt to this reader like overwriting, this is an exceptionally accomplished debut. It is affecting in its humanity, well-cons ...more
Jonathan
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer-lit
I think I've said it before but there is a great opportunity now to be able to give gay men's lives some historical context in novels. This one is set in 1980 in communist Poland, around the time that the workers were first beginning to protest, and when being gay was mostly not accepted in society, and certainly an opportunity for blackmail by the authorities. The main character, Ludwik, meets Janusz at an agricultural labour camp which all students had to attend after their studies. A connecti ...more
Grant
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookshelf
"the odds had been stacked against us from the start: we had no manual, no one to show us the way... Not one example of a happy couple made up of boys... Did we even believe that we deserved to get away with happiness?"

Another book to add to the list of books that have made me cry. So it's safe to say that this book ruined me.
...more
Théo M. (bookswiththeo)
Really boring but a different historical perspective from what we are usually given.

I didn’t really have any attachment to the main character and therefore didn’t care about what happened to him or his story.

The beginning started off interesting, but it never really gains traction. And about halfway through there just doesn’t seem to be much of a point.
Mark Kwesi Appoh
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowksi is close to perfection, full of beautiful, elegant prose and strikingly precise observations. The story will leave you in tears, but also thinking; it's a powerful meditation on whether we can, or cannot shape our own life by our decisions. Through a story of an innocent love, Jedrowski has made a bold political statement. 5.0 stars! ...more
Ben Howard
Told from Ludwik Glowacki's perspective, as if he were writing a letter to Janusz. We follow them as their relationship on at and agricultural camp after their final year at university, and beyond as they begin their adult lives in Warsaw.

Having to keep their relationship secret and differing views of how to live under the Party understandably causes both men a considerable amount of strain.

The story is told in interweaving timelines; present day (view spoiler)
...more
Marc
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a beautifully written and moving novel. Set in Poland in 1980 it tells the story of Ludwik and Janusz and their bittersweet love story. Highly recommended!
Brenda Waworga
”This is how i lived back then - through books. I locked myself into their stories, dreamt of their characters at night, pretended to be them. They were my armour against the hard edges of reality”

This book makes me feel depressed, it remind me a lot of “Call Me By Your Name” with sad longing tone and beautiful atmospheric poetic writing style... and i really love that... however.... the beginning of the book was really interesting but by the story goes on the plot became super slow until the en
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