This book radiates sensuality (‘I could hear you breathe, like a gentle crashing of waves’), humour (a doctor’s surgery is located ‘at the junction of Freedom and Lenin’) and human truths (‘you looked like a different person, and this both scared and excited me’). Jealousy, in particular, is well handled: ‘She threw herself around your neck, as if that’s what it was there for.’ Swimming in the Dark is sensual and immersive, and Ludwik’s sentimental education is so well described that the reader is left wanting more. You won’t want to miss it.
Jedrowski’s writing is elegant and compelling, and the revelations when they come are heartbreaking. I wallowed in all this book’s melancholy beauty, and will now keep it on my shelves alongside novels by Alan Hollinghurst, Edmund White and other classics in the gay canon.