Author(s): GENET JEAN BRAY BARBARA
Jean Genet's last book is a little-known masterpiece from the writer celebrated by Le Matin as 'one of the greatest French prose poets of this century'. Starting in 1970, Genet - petty thief, prostitute, modernist master - spent two years in the Palestinian refugee camps. Always an outcast himself, Genet was drawn to this displaced people and their cause, an attraction that was to prove as complicated as it was deep. Prisoner of Love combines unflinching factual reportage with Genet's trade-mark playful literary style, revealing both his art and his humanity.
Jean Genet (1910-1986) was born in Paris. Abandoned by his mother, he was raised in state institutions and charged with his first crime when he was 10. After spending many of his teenage years in a reformatory, Genet enrolled in the Foreign Legion, though he later deserted, served several jail-terms and, eventually, a sentence of life imprisonment. In prison Genet began to write and on the strength of this work found himself acclaimed by such literary luminaries as Jean Cocteau, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir, whose advocacy secured a presidential pardon for him in 1948. Between 1944 and 1948 Genet wrote four novels, Our Lady of the Flowers, Miracle of the Rose, Funeral Rites and Querelle, and the scandalizing memoir A Thief's Journal. Throughout the fifties he devoted himself to theater, writing The Blacks, The Balcony, and The Screens. After a silence of some twenty years, Genet began his last book, Prisoner of Love, in 1983. It was completed just before he died.