ISBN: 0679754792
ISBN 13: 9780679754794
By: Edmund White

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Reader's Thoughts

Caitlin Goldblatt



Well I can say this book was interesting. No other book out there like it. Kind of scary too. What a complicated man. Not sure if I would want him as a neigbhbor, well probably not. I don't like that much drama in my life. I rather have just a "normal" neighbor. Anyway he made for a good book though. Can't say it was boring.


Wellllll...ok. Ed White biographizing Jean Genet has to be given gaylit props. To both of them. Seriously, no disrespect. My minimal snodge of literary success owes them both a ton.That being said, it is amazing how White manages to make a biography of a homo thief orphan literary genius so freakin boring. The book is over-detailed and pedantic. I understand he's trying to write an authoritative bio, and compensate for the excesses of Sartre's St. Genet... but seriously, does it have to be so many hundreds of pages of boring, lifeless, stale, oh so very British details? How hard do you have to work to make Jean Genet boring?!I'm just saying.


Absolutely wonderful biography of Genet, pulling out not only details that have vexed previous researchers, but telling the story of Genet's life in such beautiful and captivating language.


I loved the first 75 pages and was reading it with interest when I left it inadvertently at the apartment of someone who has been uncooperative about returning it and who lives at some distance from my regularly visited parts of town! I want to get another copy (or with any luck retrieve that one i left) and continue to read this fascinating, beautifully written, minutely researched biography!


Interesting very..


Genet, as characterised in this bio, was a decidedly unpleasant man, with great talent. I was left with a bad taste though upon completing it.


Magistrale. Una cavalcata durata quasi sei mesi nel mio caso, ma ne valeva sicuramente la pena. White riesce a essere appassionato e distaccato allo stesso tempo, narrativo e descrittivo. Alle vicende di una vita a dir poco sui generis accompagna analisi testuale, psicologica (ma non troppo) e anche storica. Un lavoro di una vita. Per chi già ama Genet e per chi anche solamente ne è incuriosito. Un capolavoro.

Brandon Shire

Read this many years ago, one of my favorites then, and it still is.

Gregorio Racadio

Even if you are not a fan of the works of Jean Genet...this is an excellent biography on a sensational and conflicted writer that must be read.

Richard Kramer

I can give this five stars a mere hundred fifty pages in. White is an extraordinarily insightful andempathic biographer; he regards his subject with both awe and a certain amusement at the fantastic job of self creation Genet presented to the world. It's one of those books that seems to say you to, as you the pass the room it's in -- "I'm going to be one of the best books you've ever read." I don't want to finish it as I know it's right and I don't want it to end. And White, interestingly, reveals (or it seems to me) much more of his "true" self than he does in his supposedly very autobiographical fiction. Here, as in his recent essay collection SACRED MONSTERS, he shows himself to be the best kind of fan -- besotted, erudite, admiring.


So reading Jean Genet is kind of tough, and this book pieces together his life and includes lots of analysis and details to connect the dots, adding lots of depth and layers when you decide to reread or revisit Genet's novels. Read all 600+ pages years ago, but was reminded recently.

M. Sarki

Mostly crap. Wish I hadn't already put a Brodart archival dust jacket cover on the stupid thing. Off to Goodwill with another donation. Not worth selling.

Bernard Mason

A great biography of a fascinating figure, playwright, novelist, and citizen of the world Genet. Overcoming his humble beginnings but never leaving his bohemian bent behind Genet was a bibliophile who seized any opportunity to make a tome his own. But Genet was a social force. His writings gave many their first glimpses at what it meant to be a homosexual in his age . He was a voice for the poor and disenfranchised. He was a pacifist who protested the injustices of war . He personified the artist as prophet and social force. Edmund White brilliantly juggles all the Genets in this masterful biography.

Andrew Wale

Solid and a little over long but leaves little out x

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