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Paperback Querelle Book

ISBN: 0394623681

ISBN13: 9780394623689


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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Regarded by many critics as Jean Genet's highest achievement in the novel -- certainly one of the landmarks of postwar French literature. The story of a dangerous man seduced by peril, Querelle deals in a startling way with the Dostoyevskian theme of murder as an act of total liberation.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Type is very small -- warning

The type is exceedingly small in the edition I received -- I don't wear reading glasses, and I am using a magnifying glass. You might want to try another edition, although Streatham's translation is fine. The content is explicit, but Genet was an important influence, and it is very well written. No great book is for everyone.

A Truly Unique Fantasy

Querelle is perhaps Genet's most interesting novel, indeed, it's his only novel that does not contain directly autobiographical references. Thus, it is an interesting trip into the imagination of this great thinker - and his world of fantasy is enlightening and in a strange way quite profound and poetic. Querelle can be interpreted in many ways - but it cannot be disputed that this story is in a way about the double nature of all human beings. Readers of 'Our Lady of the Flowers' will be familiar with this rich puzzling theme. Genet creates a world, in which, the most hidden desires of men are amplified to the extent that these very desires become a personality unto themseselves. In a way these characters become prisoners to their own fantasies (much of Genet's writing has something to do with prison) and in a most tragic way. The character of Madame Lysiane, for example, is the clearest picture of this imprisonment. She is involved with the two brothers and the neglective Nono - never fully accepted or loved by any one person - she has to live a fragmented life giving parts of herself to many different people at the same time. What makes Genet brilliant is not necesarrily just his portrait of the double, however. There is a certain inevitability in his writing. He seems to believe in a certain fate for all things. His embracing of fate consistently in his prose - makes him, like Kafka, stand out among other writers. He truly was a poet of the highest order. I would recommend starting with 'Querelle' - it is a nice introduction to Genet's work and is perhaps the easiest of all his books to get into.

An un-Christian Dostoevsky

Having read, and hated, _Funeral Rites_ a few years ago, I approached _Querelle_ with diminished expectations. I was quite unprepared for its lyrical prose and complex characterization. Some of the passages from Seblon's journal flow better than any I've read in English, and Genet's metaphorical imagery is often surprising yet apt.I often found myself reminded of my favorite novelist, Dostoevsky, while reading _Querelle_, not only for the redolent, foggy atmosphere but for the extended meditation on evil. While Dostoevsky's works concerned themselves with redemption from evil, however, in many ways Genet writes about evil (or at least criminality) as itself redemptive in some way--that is, when he isn't calling the very notion of redemption itself into question as a liberal humanist fantasy.But what I like the most about this book is not its intellectuality, though there's plenty of that. I most enjoyed how his characters--unbelievably, even uninimaginably bizarre--became in his hands almost commonplace and real. Like Toni Morrison in a different, evil register, Genet's cast is quirky and out-there yet, somehow, not odd at all. Through their very strangeness they become the best exemplars of our real selves.

A brilliant acheivement, an upside down world!

Genet's masterpiece is an upside down world of reverse values. Meeting Querelle through these pages is like meeting a seducing demon. His impact on nearly everyone is upheavel and disarray. He reminds the characters around him of their own shames and weaknesses, simply by being himself. Querelle is s fiendish mirror for human frailties, vanities, faults and weaknesses. Querelle's completeion is his domination by others. His peace is in full submission, his irony: those around are desparate to be possesed and dominated by him. His only friendly advances are thwarted by his passivity. A vision of a void and desparately empty character searching for the punishment he so richly deserves. If you don't understand the text , or the possibilities in the message, read Funeral Rights, or Miracle of the Rose, or better many Genet novels, his genius is deep and broad and always thought provoking.

Exceptional, but highly symbolic and, therefore, challenging

I must take issue with the previous reviewer. I found the novel one of the best I've ever read. It is in the tradition of Melville's "Moby Dick" and Golding's "Lord of the Flies" in that it is a highly symbolic book and, therefore, very challenging. Burrough's "Naked Lunch" might be a better comparison. If you miss that the novel is symbolic of a type of gay man's early coming out process, and all the transformations that entails, you have missed the whole point of the novel
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