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Querelle Paperback

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Querelle + Our Lady of the Flowers + The Thief's Journal
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 13, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802151574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802151575
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Stalwart Kreinblaster on December 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
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.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mark Nadja on October 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
Genet's world is a man's world. Men fight, steal, hate, lust, and love each other with a primacy that all but excludes women, where it grudgingly admits of their existence at all. In Genet, men encompass even femininity, or, rather, those traits we usually associate with it. Even the straightest characters in *Querelle* are sexually attracted to each other. This ever-present sexual attraction, inevitably mixed with violence even under the best of circumstances, can be seen as metaphoric--an ever-shifting game of domination and submission, victor and vanquished, killer and sacrificial victim that is only made clearer by being raised in intensity through illustration in the sexual act. Genet makes overt what is always and forever sublimated: the connections between sex, power, evil, and pleasure in virtually all human interactions.

The title character of Genet's novel is a handsome, seductive, sociopathic sailor who has linked the act of theft and murder into a ritual of mystical transcendence. Not that Querelle himself would see it that way inasmuch as he is a figuration of Genet's ideal beautiful male--a pretty brute, an amoral monster of transcendent physical perfection. Querelle travels the world by ship, murdering and stashing loot at every port, loving them and leaving them, whoever they may be.

It helps if you can put aside your own sexual proclivities while reading *Querelle* otherwise it's easy to feel alienated by his creation of the quintessential "homo-fatale." The novel is a rat's warren of crime, sex, and betrayal between its cast of characters--cops, dockworkers, informers, pimps, naval officers, and drug dealers that might be summed up in the words of Mick Jaeger's and Keith Richards' *Sympathy for the Devil*: "Every cop is a criminal and all the sinners saints.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Michael Yarbrough on May 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
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.
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