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May Book of the Month:
Swimming in the Dark
by Tomasz Jedrowski

I very much enjoyed reading Swimming in the Dark, which beautifully captures the exhilaration of sexual awakening and the sexually charged atmosphere of first love, with its yearning and desire, but also the fear and shame of living a duplicitous life, when the warmth of love gives way to feelings of sorrow, shame and despair. The novel is very much anchored in history, in 1980’s communist Poland, and what it’s like to “come out” in a closed political system marked by passivity and despair. Repeatedly mentioned in this novel, and read by both main characters, is Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin, which it mimics in its confessional style and painful realizations. I loved (and recommend!!) reading them both in tandem, to appreciate their similarities—there is a searing intensity and poignancy to both, with a movement from innocence to danger, where desire becomes something frightening, wounded narrators in both seeking freedom and tranquility, but acknowledging there has to now be an unfortunate end. (also, both authors Baldwin and Jedrowski settled in exile in Paris!) Ed highly recommends!






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