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Prisoner of Love (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – January 31, 2003

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Product Details

  • Series: New York Review Books Classics
  • Paperback: 430 pages
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics (January 31, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590170288
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590170281
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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. Genet glorifies two male-dominated societies--the Panthers and the PLO--that recall the all-male worlds of his youth in reform school, the army and prison and strains to compare two "virtual martyrs," neither possessing any territory of their own. Part anti-Zionist tract, part memoir and philosophical discourse, this uninhibited cascade of images and associations is less a political document than a map of Genet's mental landscape.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

At the time of his death in 1986, Genet had in manuscript form an account of his stay with the guerrilla armies of the Palestine Liberation Organization during the early 1970s and 1980s. Available for the first time in the United States, this dense and difficult book is suffused with the deathbed recollections of Genet's personal experiences, dreams, digressions forward and backward in time, rumor and hearsay, fact and fiction, which loosely coalesce and whose overall effect is impressionistic rather than straightforwardly informative. What appeals most is Genet's vivid exposition, which relies on metaphorical imagery rather than logical argument to make its point. This book is a biography of a people fated to struggle against unpopular world opinion and overwhelming odds, a very personal portrait of the Palestinian guerrilla movement seen from the viewpoint of a committed social rebel. A fine introduction by Edmund White helps put the book into the context of Genet's personal and political aesthetic. Recommended primarily for larger collections or where the subject or author is already represented.
- Jeffery Ingram, Newport P.L., Ore.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By T. M. Teale on October 25, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If the reader is looking for easy explanations to the Palestinian refugees' war with the nation of Israel, Jean Genet's book is not the place to seek them. And I don't advise readers to pick through the text looking for the succinct sentences in which Genet clearly states why he's on the side of the Palestinians, or if he's anti-Israel, or anti-American. There is no proof of reviewer Tim Keane's conclusion that Genet "seethes with hatred of Israel"; there are no such violent emotions in Prisoner of Love. At 430 pages, be prepared to find subtleties of experience shaded by conflicting responses--nuances completely unavailable via print journalism or network news, CNN, or Al Jazeera. But the very fact that Genet wanted to observe life in the refugee camps shows that he had to make a choice. Nearly all the protagonists of his memoir, this textual "souvenirs," are Palestinians and generally Muslim. Indeed, the compelling force which drives the relatively plotless Prisoner of Love are the individuals to whom Jean attachments himself: the dynamic Lieutenant Mubarak, Dr. Mahjoub and the charismatic female doctor, Dr. Nabila, Khaled Abu Khaled and Abu Omar, and an accomplished woman friend, a blond Lebanese guide and translator, Nidal, and dozens of other people. Genet was particularly attached to Hamza and his mother, who he attempts to find again after his absence from Palestine for nearly 14 years. We cannot forget the common fedayee rebel, the fedayeen as a whole who fought to make the Palestinian plight known.

When evaluating Prisoner of Love, it's important to remember that Genet is a writer.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By scarecrow VINE VOICE on October 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Genet allows you to feel the immediacy of the Palestinian situation with particles from lives,from ill-defined fragments of lives disrupted with no future,he stayed with a family in 1980 a half-day and a whole night where the young son,Hamza a fedayee went off at night to fight. Genet hearing gun fire in the distance inhabited his bed and was brought Turkish coffee and water in the night as a replacement for the young man,by his mother. Genet is a writer/poet,a political thinker,but never a man of politics, a deeply sensitive man,a virtuoso of the sensual image, as the starry-night reflected against the curtain in his room with the small blue table. "Of course it's understood that the words,nights,forests,septet,jubilation desertion and despair are the same words that I have to use to describe the goings on at dawn in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris when the drag queens depart after celebrating their mystery,doing their accounts and smoothing banknotes out of the dew."
Genet was allowed with special permission to visit the massacre site at the camps at Sabra and Chantila,smelling the rotting flesh, "They happened I was affected by them. I talked about them. But while the act of writing came later, after a period of incubation,nevertheless in a moment like that or those when a single cell departs from its usual metabolism and the original link is created of a future,unsuspected cancer,or a piece of lace, so I decided to write this book."
Genet has an intense need for passion of any dimension,scouring the vigours of whatever parts of fragments of the lifeworld's complexity presents itself to him. I once thought of this book as a romantic means of portrayel a betrayel of a political situation,one, the only one that excited Genet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr Benjamin on November 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Genet was an early witness to some profound moments and tragedies in the Palestinian struggle and this book provides a record of this. Although predictably, it screams Genet from every page, it is an interesting journey and for me, one of his best works, regardless of what one think's about the Palestinian cause with which Genet became involved in 1970. As an outsider and outcast from French society himself, even though he was in a sense, re-habilitated following his Presidential pardon in 1948, Genet was attracted to stark revolutionary causes and those which questioned and sought to overthrow the status quo as part of a struggle for autonomy and legitimacy. So, in a sense, the Palestinian cause was an ideal one which grew upon Genet's commitment to the Algerian cause. It is also significant that Genet knew many within the Palestinian leadership who would ultimately not survive, becoming martyrs to the cause. This book also allows Genet to expound upon all of the things of interest to him so it is also a bit of a philosophical journey and journal as well. Considering it is Genet's last work, written when he himself was dying, it provides "last comments" on many things, fulfilling also Genet's penchant for upheaval, confusion, contradiction and inexplicable directions.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By michael miller on January 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was very disappointed with this order. While the book is in good condition and readable it is in a library jacket from F.L. Weyenberg Library, Mequon, WI. with the library name stamped in ink on the pages and the library numbers still on the jacket. While the jacket can be thrown away (thus losing the photograph of Genet and the cover art) the ink stamp on the pages cannot be removed. This is what you buy at a library book sale for fifty cents or a dollar. As it was planned as a gift I am too embarrassed to give it. Beyond that, this is false advertising, which will keep me from ever ordering from this seller again
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