Oh my, what a book. I felt that tingle almost straight away, the one only a really special book gives you. The writing is so beautiful, so emotional, so descriptive, and because no word is wasted, falls on the right side of not being up itself.
Set mainly in Poland in 1980, the country’s inequalities between the few who ‘know someone’ and the many who don’t are drawn in bright colours and the drabbest of greys. The unrest that will eventually lead to an elected government ten years later is in its infancy, and this forms the backdrop to this exceptional love story. In this world at this time, homosexuality must be hidden. A reason for shame.
Ludwik and Janusz, both newly graduated from university, meet at a work camp and through a borrowed book discover their shared sexuality. They embark on a tense yet tender affair the author makes seem both dreamlike and real, but back in Warsaw, Ludwik faces difficult choices.