Thursday, February 6, 2020

#BookReview: Swimming in the Dark - Tomasz Jedrowski


4/5 Book Emojis

Format Used: 

ARC - Paperback

Publisher - Bloomsbury India 

Pages - 232

Link to Amazon

*Note: I received an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of this book from the publisher Bloomsbury India, for an honest review. The views below are unbiased and solely my own.


"...I slept deeply, dreamlessly, as if floating under water, I was unmoored, a ship that had finally left its harbour, only to be pushed by the wind without any control of its own. When I awoke I hardly knew who and where I was.”

  Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski is the story of a young man named Ludwig who is coming-of-age in the light of the violent political decline in Poland around the '80s. At an agricultural camp, he locks eyes with a university student named Janusz and he finds himself falling. But, the eyes of the government are wherever they expect the least. Bonding over the copy of James Baldwin's queer love story, Giovanni's Room, their romance gains passion and strength. 

Image result for vintage gay coupleThis was a book that satiated my thirst for Andre Aciman and relit the warm fire for my love of European history, this time with Poland. Tomasz never fails to give a well detailed and beautifully incorporated backdrop for each political and historical event that obstruct the romance of our characters. The writing was brilliant and the characters possessed depth and developed with the story. However, the only thing I felt missing was more of homoeroticism and more pages about the chemistry between Ludwig and Janusz. But that doesn't stop me from congratulating the author from writing this important story. 

Image result for vintage gay coupleVery often, among the cacophony of bestsellers, we miss out on voices of authors like these who have stories such as this one, that evidently comes from a place like home where things aren't so utopian. I took up this book expecting a whole lot, since Poland is now very close to my heart and don't fall behind in picking up every queer release, and fortunately, I wasn't disappointed. There's so much to take away from this book, especially the fact that no matter how things change for the better of the marginalised, we don't always have the perfect happy endings. Also, that we should never fail to acknowledge those before us who would've killed to have the freedom we do right now, and that not letting us stop in our way to fight for more. 

Conclusion: This is simply one really really story that I think everyone should read. A classic. A deserved best-seller. 

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