Querelle de Brest

ISBN: 2070263290
ISBN 13: 9782070263295
By: Jean Genet

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About this book

Tous les protagonistes de ce drame naissent du brouillard de Brest, du soleil qui dore faiblement ses façades, et de la mer semblable au mouvement intérieur qui anime l'écrivain. Ce sont des miroirs se renvoyant des images semblables et contraires qui sourdent du même foyer où elles reviennent ensuite se confondre : Jean Genet.

Reader's Thoughts


Al contrario de la mayoría de las obras de Genet, Querelle no se basa en aspectos biográficos del autor. La trama es "sencilla" en el sentido de que funciona como una base sólida que sostiene el aspecto psicológico de los personajes, pero también podría decir que la trama es muy compleja debido a la elegante, perversa y alucinante prosa de Genet. Uno de los elementos que más me llamó la atención fue el papel que juega Brest, la ciudad portuaria francesa, en el desarrollo de la historia: burdeles, naves militares, callejones solitarios, galerones abandonados... la materialidad del espacio funciona como una lupa que nos permite ver con más detalle el mundo subterráneo de violencia, sensualidad, homoerotismo, traición y camaradería que pupula sutilmente de la mente de Genet.Como es característico de Genet, el héroe es siempre en cierto sentido, un antagonista. Querelle es masculino, es fuerte, es atractivo, pero está más allá de la redención. Los vaivenes psicológicos con los que Genet intenta analizar las acciones de Querelle es un aspecto que vale la pena resaltar

Ismael Schonhorst

A gay (literal and metaphorical sense) life prose-poetry: meaning, lessons and reflections about being.


I don't give out 5 stars lightly.the English translation of Querelle (originally French) is easily one of the best translations I've ever read. The lyrical beauty of the work remains wonderfully in tact. Querelle is super thick, rich, compelling, and dark. The filthy world of sailors and brothels lends itself to one of the queerest (here i meant "strangest" until I realized that it fully embodies both meanings of the word) things I've ever read. It's difficult, but so worth getting through. I feel bad on my 5 star ratings because I feel that nothing I could ever say would portend what lies between the covers of these books. But as of yet, its in the best 10 books I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

Mikael Kuoppala

An intensely and beautifully erotic and poetically written novel that has its roots in existentialism.


Now that's what I'm talkin' about - page after page of brooding homoeroticism. Find yourself transported into the schemes, double-crosses, and deepest thoughts of the men in a French port city. And there's mansex, but it's not pansy sex, it's men performing sex acts with men, perfectly masculine stuff.A straight guy reading this is like a straight guy wearing pink - some people may think this means you're gay, but smarter people know it's really a validation of your confidence in your identity.


As a straight man, I sure do have a love for Gay literature and Gay authors. Genet is just an once-in-a-life-time genius. "Querelle" is a magnificent book that is so iconic that I can't imagine anyone on this planet passing this book up. And again, i have a love for the twilight world that basically slips out of the pages in this book. Everything is sexualized to the max, and it's a work of great inner-world beauty.


I must admit that the plot was really mixed, but maybe I just should consider it as Genet's artistic style. The book is written so wonderfully that I can forgive the confusion caused by the plot. I loved the language and the way Genet describes his characters and their thoughts. Not to mention that Querelle himself is quite perfect, being sailor and a murderer and all.One of the best GLBT-books that I've read.


"The movement arched his entire body and made his basket bulge under the cloth of his trousers. He had at that moment, despite his being cloistered, . . . the nobility of an animal which carries its whole load between its legs."


It's been about 2 decades since i read Querelle, but the scenes and poetic style marked me like a tatooed sailor.Warning: the scenes are sexually and violently graphic.Yet, when the murderous main character describes how he felt when he killed..Well, it's mind-boggling that Genet could describe it so sensitively and beautifully. If you loved Todd Haynes' film, Poison, and if you love exploring the minds of the damaged and desperate--Querelle is the book for you. It is a master's work and probably deserves 5 stars; i'll re-visit and update. (BTW, fassbinder made this into a film , but its tone is nothing like the book. If you must see the film, read the book first. The book is not campy.)

Jerome K

Hmm... not one of Genet's best... Definitely not a good place to appreciate his work. I decided to read this after watching that strange Fassbinder film adaptation, which I thought was interesting until the totally anticlimactic ending. The novel has a similarly anticlimactic end. I don't know why this is is. Maybe Genet just ran out of paper.


What can one say of Genet? He was one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, without a doubt, and possibly the greatest writer working in the French language since Gide to address issues of male sexuality in an unconventional, discursive, manner. However, a lot of his fiction to me is rather depressing—droll even in places—and this book was no different, though it did offer more realism and tangible detail than some of his other works. The port city of Brest is one of the more-gritty cities of France, a place always associated mainly with two things: military might (as a naval base) and crime. Genet well understands this and paints the city as the central character of the novel. With the city taking the lead, everyone else brings up the proverbial rear: sailors, naval officers, madames, et cetera. Petty crime and crime grand, it's all here. I'd certainly recommend this book to anyone interested in Genet or 20th century French literature, but I will admit it left me wanting in places. To write a literary whodunit or fiction that desires for nothing more than to be true crime, I would look to Hawksmoor, the 1985 novel by the British writer Peter Ackroyd. While we may not want Genet to be P.D. James, at times the crime aspects could have been played for more interest than they were. Or, perhaps it's just my own personal taste: I will say it's a powerful work and lacks none of all that makes Genet great, I just couldn't get into it as I've always desired to get into Genet's work.If you can read French, do read it in the French. Also, I expect if I read it over again, it will grow on me. There's a lot that's wonderful about this book but it's also trucated to me in places, and almost seems rushed sometimes. Still, it's Genet and could be no other.

Daniel Lee

Genet truly put the "literary" in "literary smut" with QUERELLE. The prose is exquisitely elegant, like his other great works--Notre Dame des Fleurs, etc.--but the eroticism within the text that doesn't cross into the pornographic despite its explicitness is where the real art lies.


Theft. Murder. Sex. Ambiguous desires. Sailors and rough trade. One of my favorites.But poor Madame Lysiane caught between two brothers. Poor Gil Turko betrayed by his seducer.


Well, it is full of buggery, but it's so much more. And not just the notion that a body is nothing but scaffolding for a man's balls.


Jean Genet's book was ahead of its time. Gays lived a very different life as compared to today. Monsieur Genet is a masterful writer and storyteller. I was intrigued and didn't want the book to end.

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