Prisoner of Love by Jean Genet

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Synopsis

Starting in 1970, Jean Genet—petty thief, prostitute, modernist master—spent two years in the Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan. Always an outcast himself, Genet was drawn to this displaced people, an attraction that was to prove as complicated for him as it was enduring. Prisoner of Love, written some ten years later, when many of the men Genet had known had been killed, and he himself was dying, is a beautifully observed description of that time and those men as well as a reaffirmation of the author's commitment not only to the Palestinian revolution but to rebellion itself. For Genet's most overtly political book is also his most personal—the last step in the unrepentantly sacrilegious pilgrimage first recorded in The Thief's Journal, and a searching meditation, packed with visions, ruses, and contradictions, on such life-and-death issues as the politics of the image and the seductive and treacherous character of identity. Genet's final masterpiece is a lyrical and philosophical voyage to the bloody intersection of oppression, terror, and desire at the heart of the contemporary world.
 

About Jean Genet

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Jean Genet was born in Paris, France on December 19, 1910. He was an illegitimate child abandoned by his mother, raised by Public Assistance, and sent to live with foster parents at the age of seven. At the age of 10 he was accused of stealing. He spent five years at the Mettray Reformatory and as a young adult spent time in various European prisons for vagrancy, homosexuality, theft, and smuggling. He began writing in 1942, while in prison. His works include Our Lady of the Flowers, Miracle of the Rose, and The Thief's Journal. In 1948, he was convicted of burglary for the 10th time and condemned to automatic life imprisonment. However, by 1947, his works had gained attention from such writers as Jean-Paul Sartre, André Gide, and Jean Cocteau. After the sentence, they petitioned for his release and a pardon was granted. In the late 1940s, Genet began to write for the theatre, but several of his plays were too controversial to be performed in France. His plays included The Maids, Deathwatch, The Blacks, and The Balcony. He died on April 15, 1986.
 
Published January 1, 1989 by Picador, London. 400 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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`The happiness of my hand in the hair of a boy another hand will know, already knows, and if I die this happiness will go on.' '' For fun, Genet accepted an invitation to spend a few days with the Palestinians--and stayed nearly two years.

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Publishers Weekly

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Reflecting Genet's sympathy for the outcast and his personal revolt against the established order, this dense, episodic montage records the years the Frenchman spent with the Black Panthers in the U.S

Mar 30 1992 | Read Full Review of Prisoner of Love

Publishers Weekly

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Reflecting Genet's sympathy for the outcast and his personal revolt against the established order, this dense, episodic montage records the years the Frenchman spent with the Black Panthers in the U.S. in the early 1970s and with Palestinian soldiers in Jordan and Lebanon until his death in 1986.

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London Review of Books

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The New York Review of Books

Prisoner of Love, written some ten years later, when many of the men Genet had known had been killed, and he himself was dying, is a beautifully observed description of that time and those men as well as a reaffirmation of the author’s commitment not only to the Palestinian revolution but to rebe...

Jan 31 2003 | Read Full Review of Prisoner of Love

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