Michal Witkowski

Published: 7 April 2011
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 240 pages
ISBN: 9781846270529

Translated by William Martin


Growing up queer in a Communist state, queens Patricia and Lucretia spent the '70s and '80s underground, finding glamour in the squalor, strutting their stuff in parks and public toilets, seducing hard Soviet soldiers, preying on drunks and seeing their friends die of Aids. Today they're about to hit Lovetown, a homo-haven, populated by a younger generation of emancipated gays, who are out and proud in their post-Communist paradise: suntanned, sculpted and vigorously spending the pink euro.This is the story of the clash between old and new gays - the clapped out queens and the flashy fags - as they meet in a place where anything goes, but some things have also been lost.

About the author

Image of Michal Witkowski

Michal Witkowski was born in 1975 and is the author of a book of short stories, Copyright (2001). This is his first novel. He lives in Warsaw. More about the author


Lovetown offers a vast overview of a changing subculture ... A subtly polemical novel.’ Piotr Gwiazda



‘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.’ Mary Fitzgerald

‘A fascinating look at how the darkness of communism may have only given way to a blander, cosmopolitan life for all and sundry’

‘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’ Kate Saunders

‘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’ Neil Bartlett

‘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.’ Richard Canning

‘Witkowski's portrait novel is both harrowing and hilarious, providing an important political commentary through two unlikely heroes.’

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