Tomasz Jedrowski

Swimming in the Dark

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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.
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200 printed pages

Impressions

    gaytangomezpaulashared an impression3 months ago
    👍Worth reading

    gerardinosshared an impression4 months ago
    👍Worth reading
    💀Spooky
    🔮Hidden Depths
    💞Loved Up
    💧Soppy

Quotes

    gaytangomezpaulahas quoted4 months ago
    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. Ever since that day, twelve months ago, when I got on a plane and flew through the thick layers of cloud across the ocean. A year since I saw you, a year that has felt like limbo—ever since then, I’ve been lying to myself. And now that I am stuck here, in the dreadful safety of America, while our country is falling apart, I am done with pretending that I’ve erased you from my mind. Some things cannot be erased through silence. Some people have that power over you, whether you like it or not. I begin to see that now. Some people, some events, make you lose your head. They’re like guillotines, cutting your life in two, the dead and the alive, the before and the after.
    gerardinoshas quoted5 months ago
    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 armor against the hard edges of reality. I carried them with me wherever I went, like a talisman in my pocket, thinking of them as almost more real than the people around me, who spoke and lived in denial, destined, I thought, to never do anything worth recounting.
    tlacoyohas quoted5 months ago
    shrieked, and the music continued. I felt elated, suddenly high on the possibilities of the dark, and some unknown barrier receded in my mind. I could see Beniek’s outline near me, and the need to kiss him crept out of the night like a wolf. It was the first time I had consciously wanted to pull anyone toward me. The desire reached me like a distinct message from deep within, a place I had never sensed before but recognized immediately. I moved toward him in a trance. His body showed no resistance when I pulled it against mine and embraced him, feeling the hardness of his bones, my face against his, and the warmth of his breath

    i feel you

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