Cover Image: Operation Hyacinth

Operation Hyacinth

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Member Reviews

A really well written and interesting book about the issues that the LGBT community faced in communist Poland. Operation Hyacinth was very informative and a good read.
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Oh, this is such a mixed bag, but the parts that I loved, I REALLY loved. 

This is an own voices book that documents a very dark time in an almost journalistic way intervowen with a love story. It combines authentic, historical facts about Operation Hyacinth - the interrogation and documentation of 11,000 gay men by the police and security agents in Poland from 1985 to 1987 and the resulting "pink files" with the love story of Piotr and Kamil. Kamil is an officer working on the operation, who falls in love with Piotr, a priest who is one of the interrogated men. 

I will admit the writing style threw me off at first. A lot of showing, not telling, so it reads like something between journalistic style and a film treatment. At times it read more like a first draft, and it can be a little clunky. I can partially excuse this since the novel was originally written in Polish, and after a while it stopped bothering me. Still, either as a consequence of the writing style or as an issue on its own, the characters felt a little one-dimensional at times. 

The good parts - it keeps your interest, it's authentic, and against all odds, I became truly invested in this relationship. And my God, the story. It's beautiful, gut-wrenching and poignant. This has a believable sexuality discovery, and a loving, hopeful relationship juxtaposed against a scary historical backdrop. The ending felt a little cliché, but it was also very realistic.

A pretty short read that stays with you. It's not the most polished book or your typical romance but I'm rounding up because it's definitely a book worth reading. 

<i>*I have received an ARC from Netgalley and I am voluntarily leaving an honest and unbiased review*</i>
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I enjoyed reading this novel, and it makes me want to read more about Operation Hyacinth, communist Poland, and future novels by Pawel Kurczab. It is important for younger generations to know the struggles of history and see how far we have come and what still needs to be done to help people. It broke my heart, and I think more people need to know about stories like this, It can be easy to take for granted progress made.
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