This was an absolutely marvelous read! Such a poignant, angsty and passionate story about forbidden love and political oppression set in the 1980s Poland. So beautifully written that it felt like reading poetry, and so addictive and heart-wrenching that I read it in one sitting.
The story is told by Ludwik Glowaki, now living in New York but looking back at his life in communist Poland. As a university student, Ludwik was sent to a summer agricultural camp, where he met the handsome and carefree Janusz. Spending the late summer evenings together by the river, the two of them fell madly in love, but their intense affair was not only condemned by the Catholic society, it was also a criminal offense and something of which even the slightest suspicion would draw the attention of the communist party.
Tomasz Jedrowski has a way with words that is absolutely brilliant. The writing style was so beautiful and poetic, precise yet vivid, and with a wonderful smooth flow, even though the story was such a heartbreaking one and so full of melancholy. In this debut, Tomasz Jedrowski wove together a vivid and intriguing story showing the political system, the homophobia, how the old communist regime was beginning to crumble but had not yet lost its controlling power and the different ways in which Ludwik and Janusz adjusted to the circumstances to eventually find themselves on opposite sides of the political divide. It captured the atmosphere and the suppressed feelings, longings and tension between the character in a perfect way, and showed how the reality with a society built on connections, the poverty and misery amongst the people, the way the uproar was formed and how it all affected the characters’ behavior and choices, left Ludwik and Janusz to struggle not only with their forbidden love, but also to see their relationship slowly being torn apart by their political differences.
All in all, I absolutely loved this book and recommend it with all my heart! Swimming in the Dark was such a poignant and gripping, melancholy yet heartwarming and beautifully romantic story about forbidden love and the struggle for freedom in a turbulent historical era. I know that this breathtakingly emotional and engaging story and its complex and amazing characters will stay in my heart for a very long time!
Thank you so much Jonathan (Wander with Jon) for the recommendation that made me discover this gem!
Get your own copy:
All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Rhiannon Wilde River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez