Starting in , Jean Genet—petty thief, prostitute, modernist master—spent two years in the Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan. Always an outcast himself. Prisoner of Love. Jean Genet, Author, Edmund White, Illustrator, Barbara Bray, Translator Wesleyan University Press $35 (p) ISBN Get this from a library! Prisoner of love. [Jean Genet; Barbara Bray].

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For it was a party, the Palestinian revolt on the banks of the Jordan. I really don’t think I can ever do a Genet bk justice. It’s not an argument; he damns everyone. If I were to divide his I probably haven’t written an adequate review of a Genet bk yet. One of the signs was the stream of people, dishevelled, dusty and dehydrated, fleeing along the roads from the camps at Amman, Baqa and Gaza on mules, in lorries or on foot.

She was born in Egypt and lives in Cairo and London. Very rich prose with enough mind imaging to last several centuries.

3:AM Magazine

So did I fail to understand the Palestinian revolution? Perhaps it was women, not men, who invented the segregation of women.

Every act had its own value and importance, neither increased nor diminished by the proximity of the heavy artillery or of the Syrian frontier – that escape route, or trap, for fleeing Palestinians. Writing from a tremendously distinct and complex subjectivity about his time spent with Palestinian guerillas in the 70s, he thinks and sees in ways which are both elegant, brutal and necessary.

If Genet was a sham as a person, he was no sham as a writer!! In the camp still consisted of patched-up tents. For a short time the life, the one life of the now dead fedayee took on a density it had never uean before.


And every phase of my life mean just consist in the undemanding labor of writing down each episode – choosing the words, crossing them out reading them the wrong way round. Here was a writer quite distinct from the novelist and playwright I fenet known in my teens. But could they fire at stars rising out of their own cradle, Palestine? These were brisk and polemical pieces, clearly delineated and put to seemingly guileless political service. Every uprising revealed some deep genealogy whose strength was not in its almost non-existent branches but in its roots, prisomer that the rebels springing forth everywhere seemed to be celebrating some sort of cult of the dead.

He achieves a certain critical distance from the mythology of his youth. Abandoned by his mother at seven months, he was raised in state institutions and charged with his first crime when he was ten. Emotions live on and only the people who entertain them die.

Or, as Genet put it, sometimes “a touch of garlic helps. It is more of various unrelated thoughts and feelings that were gathered in a book about a specific prisonee of time and place, but which were related many times in the book to other events in other places in the world and different period of times.

Jean Genet: Prisoner of Love – 3:AM Magazine

If while he was still alive the twenty-year-old fedayee had made a few undemanding plans for the next day – washing his clothes, posting a letter – it seemed to me those unfulfilled intentious were accompanied now by the smell of decomposition. She was smiling, and she had a gun.

Prisons I found rather motherly – more so than the dangerous streets of Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona. Radical change might result in radical destabilization – wch can mean even more misery than most people already have. Before, my memory had been firmly imprinted with the image of a woman strong enough to carry a gun, and to load, aim and fire it. Was it that I was easily impressed? So much so that the more proofs she gave me that I really had been here, that we really had met, before, the more I doubted whether all that had actually happened fourteen years ago.


There were plenty of signs that the Bedouins were on their way. I hated this book, but had to read it through for work. And that admiring blurb on the back from Edward Said: Everything was in it at one time or another; but never my total belief, never the whole of myself.

Any reality is bound to be outside me, existing in and for itself. For a long time I’d been vaguely uneasy, but I was amazed when I realized that my life – I mean the events of my life, spread out flat in front of me – was nothing but a blank sheet of paper which I’d managed to fold into something different.

Jean Genet: Prisoner of Love

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 prisojer of identity.

They were driven out there by Israeli forces and were facing two enemies, the Jordanian King and Israeli army at the same time. This is steadfastly a book of memory. The USA is still very racist. Genet had an extremely incisive intellect. Jan 19, Tony rated it liked it Shelves: