Love in the time of Communism: a rich, colourful novel about the perils and pleasures of being gay and coming out from behind the iron curtain - from Poland's answer to Almodovar.
Michal Witkowski was born in 1975 and is the author of a book of short stories, Copyright (2001). This is his first novel. He divides his time between Warsaw, Paris and Berlin.
This hilarious, scabrous, sharp-eyed, sharp-tongued (and
brilliantly translated) novel is essentially and life-enhancingly
political - if by politics we mean who gets to live, and how. Treat
yourself; buy it - "Guardian"
A fascinating look at how the darkness of communism may have only given way to a blander, cosmopolitan life for all and sundry - "Big Issue"
The end of Soviet oppression wasn't good news for everyone. Patricia and Lucretia are relics of the pre-Solidarity, pre-Aids Polish gay scene, nostalgic about the old days of shame and secrecy ... The two old queens - as much outsiders in the new world as in the old - tell their stories of samizdat sex to a young gay journalist - "The Times"
A boisterous journey through communist and post-communist Poland. It's a riotous, anarchic, self-proclaimed "faggot Decameron" - a cacophony of voices that proudly recount their queer exploits in toilets, parks and army barracks before homosexuality was decriminalised.Their tales are collected by a journalist who is, like the author, called Michal, who plans to write a "book of the street." This is also a project of literary reclamation. In everything from his smutty language to his chaotic narrative structure to the lurid detail with which he describes death, sex and shit, Witkowski is challenging inherited notions not only of what it means to be queer but of how a writer should write, and even what it means to tell a story. The outcome is jubilant, subversive and hilarious. - "Observer"
Witkowski chose to base his novel around the political changes of the 1980s, and their impact on gay men's lives. Instead of merely disinterring a period that seemed crude or repressed, Witkowski allows his dissident voices to challenge the notion that capitalism has benevolently triumphed in Poland, bringing prosperity and also every accompanying gay bauble to a backward people ... a bracing, strident, surprisingly beautiful novel. - "Independent"
"Lovetown" offers a vast overview of a changing subculture ... A subtly polemical novel. - "TLS"
Witkowski's portrait novel is both harrowing and hilarious, providing an important political commentary through two unlikely heroes. - "Big Issue"