Funeral Rites

ISBN: 0802130879
ISBN 13: 9780802130877
By: Jean Genet Bernard Frechtman

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About this book

Genet's sensual and brutal portrait of World War II unfolds between the poles of his grief for his lover Jean, killed in the Resistance during the liberation of Paris, and his perverse attraction to the collaborator Riton. Elegaic, macabre, chimerical, Funeral Rites is a dark meditation on the mirror images of love and hate, sex and death.

Reader's Thoughts


One of the great works of twentieth century literature. Does anyone know why the Bernard Frechtman translation is abridged, omitting crucial scenes? I have the Black Cat press version, published '69, maybe the Grove Press rectifies the wrong.Genet's life project was to lift the poisionous veil of bourgeois/religious values from sexual love, in some of the most lyrical passages ever written in French prose. Most of this book is a series of sexual encounters between French resistance fighters, Nazis, and Genet himself, whose contempt for French society allows a curiously apolitical view of the historical events depicted. Genet mourns his fallen soldiers by writing himself through a series of violent sex dreams, resurrecting the dead on both sides of the barracades in an attempt to exorcise the trauma of his own long incarceration. It is impossible not to be horrified and equally impossible to reject Genet for reasons of immorality, although I suppose to most 21st century readers are too glib and detached and politically correct to experience in any way the power of this difficult novel.

RK Byers

this guy is ONE SICK DUDE! i'm gonna keep reading him, tho. he's good.

Juliette Jones

So far... I'm just not sure. I have read several books in between what would be chapters of this book, if there were actually chapters. That might be the problem. I hate no chapters...


Brutal longing lashing the most unexpected transitions. Death-desiring love. Loss in the form of short acquisitions of life.


"Within them hatched an egg from which emerged an excitement charged with cautious love-making under a mosquito net."


Read this book while in college it was a part of two different classes.One was prison lit the other was gay lit. Seeing that i went to a Catholic college and both classes were taught by nuns I was shocked.An interesting book but very dark indeed.


Read it, wait twenty years and read it again. Brilliant. This book is vital, sublime, this book is perfect.


I found this book difficult to grasp and remain focused on.


didn't finish this one, but i plan to come back to it soon. the story didn't really grab me, but there's definitely something there... i wish i could be more specific but i guess i can't. also, the translation is amazing. i don't speak french, but i've rarely read a translation that is such confident prose in its own right.

Michael Miley

One of the most disturbing books I've ever read. I'll have to sit down and describe my encounter with Genet through the half dozen or so books of his that I've read.


His writing is amazing and beautiful, but the subject is really over dramatic and boring. I felt like I was reading a child's journals re-written by an old pervert, or maybe an old pervert's journal re-written by a young adult with a depressive disorder. Either way, I sort of liked it- ish. I wish the content was as good as the writing. It does make me interested in reading Genet's biography and maybe reading another book of his to see if it might be any better.


Genet at his best and most irreconcilable.

Daniel Lee

A little self-indulgent on Genet's part, but as usual, some beautiful prose and erotic power.


Genet's lament for a dead lover told during the final days of Nazi occupation of Paris. The story winds its way in and out of fantasy in dreamlike ways, obsessed with eros and thanatos: the imagery is captivating and uncanny. Genet was a convicted murderer and avowed homosexual so not for all tastes.

Christoper Johnsen

Knocked my socks off. Wish I could have read it in French.

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