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Widow Basquiat
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Widow Basquiat

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  192 ratings  ·  23 reviews
In this extraordinary and unusual book, Jennifer Clement explores the turbulent relationships that Jean-Michel Basquiat had with his muse Suzanne Malouk and with the art establishment. The result is a distressing yet beautiful profile of a strange, powerful love striving to flourish in the face of horrendous outside pressures. And while Suzanne held firm, Basquiat sought r...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published June 24th 2003 by Canongate U.S. (first published 2001)
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I'm always suspicious of biographies of artists. Where films are concerned, there's the inevitable shaky camera scene (when the artist begins to seriously lose it or ups the ante on his coke habit). And regardless of the medium, while mainstream auteurs tend to excuse the subject's deplorable personality for the sake of the opus, there's a far more widespread and disturbing habit of conflating one's understanding the life with an understanding of the work's function or relevance and you wind up...more
Camille Pobst
When I picked this book up, at first I was thrown by the style. I wasn't sure if I could read a whole book written in this sort of fleeting mentality with really explaining what was going on. However, the more I read and learned about the life of Suzanne and Jean-Michel the more I felt that this style matched it perfectly. I don't usually like books with a lot of sex and drugs, but I felt the author mentioned it and moved on. Obviously it was a part of their scene, but we didn't need all the gru...more
I was happily surprised to find that this book was written so poetically. For its descriptiveness and emotional and vivid imagery, it reminded me of Francesca Lia Block's writing. I read it in a day and a half, and I absolutely loved it. What a read.
Cheryl Klein
An odd and great little book that makes me want to write in short, simple sentences. It's part memoir--with apparent transcriptions from Suzanne, Basquiat's longtime girlfriend, that grow in length and frequency as she grows as a character--and part prose poetry. The story of Suzanne and Jean-Michel's love affair is one we've seen before: troubled genius meets troubled, ambivalent muse. It's nice to hear from the latter in her own voice (and that of her friend, author Jennifer Clement, who appea...more
Somewhat interesting biography/memoir of the girlfriend of an artist whose work I was not familar with. I am familiar with other artists from that time frame and the genre of the work he did but not him specifically. The way the book alternated between third person narrative and her memories made the way the story was told interesting but overall it was only a mediocre read unless you were specifically interested in his life.
Samantha Ng
First I won this book to be fair. I think if one is interested in learning the bio of these people then it is a easy read. Not too intense. I found the background history of the culture back then more fascinating then their love story.
I could not stop reading this book once I started yet as I was nearing the end I attempted to drag it out as long as possible (reading 2 pages per one hour train ride, 3 days a week) so I wouldn't have to stop. Needless to say, I ended up having to finish. Anyway, I love Basquiat as an artist, I watched both documentaries done on him and in doing so I began to find greater interest in his relationship with Suzanne (his on-and-off girlfriend and muse), which led me to finding this book. I loved t...more
Widow Basquiat was a very interesting book. First, Clements style was hard to get used to, the reading was like short stories all put together in chronological order. Second, it was written from the perspective of Jean-Michel's girlfriend/acquaintance. I thought I was gonna read an account of Basquiat's work but read more about the life of a drug addict out of control. I question her authenticity of their lives together as a couple. I did enjoy reading the 80's pop culture art world and how Basq...more
Kareem Reid
useful for anyone interested in art history.
Jul 13, 2010 Helena rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Helena by: J Acosta, College Professor
Read for Sex and Death class at CCA.

Second reading. July 2010. I really love the way the author approached this material. There is some annoying redundancy given the short length of the book. Sometimes the direction is unclear. Those things aside, it's a strong piece worth reading over your standard biography of Jean Michael Basquiat. This is an in the moment punk rock diary, with rhythm and poetry. It's not polished, but that's a reason to like it.
Jul 21, 2008 E rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: novels
A tragic story told through beautiful prose poems. I already knew what a screw-up Basquiat and his friends were - having seen the biopic made by Julian Schnabel - but I could imagine it would be too depressing for those unaware upon first reading it. Still, the style of writing shimmers.
I thought I would enjoy finding out about Jean-Michel but this book is not forthcoming with info on this Artist.
It tells somewhat about his life but not as a regular bio.
I wouldn't recommend this book.
Kimberly Chaney
Not exactly something you sit and read cover to cover. More of something you glance through. Great insight into what it may have been like to be the lover of such a unpredictable and difficult to understand artist.
I absolutely loved this book. It took me back to that time and place so many years ago. Loved the writing style. So sad and evocative in its execution.

the artsy fartsy writing put me off. then i was able to ignore her use of first and third person on the same page somehow and found the rest pretty good.
Nov 14, 2013 Wendy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: novel
I enjoyed this book so much when I read it, shortly after experiencing Clement's poetry at her San Miguel Poetry Week a dozen years ago.
This book is not literature but a bunch of words made out of fragmented emotional wounds, not bad at all for what it is.
Cristina Martin
I was seriously unable to put down this book. It gives an intimate and personal portrait of the artist, Basquiat.
As sad as you'd expect the fictional account of a woman in love with a drug-addicted artist to be.
Not as interesting as Phoebe Hoban's book about the man, but still something for the Basquiat fan.
Loved it loved it loved it. Eloquent and poetic. One of my absolute favourites.
Excellent. Beautifully written and elegant. A work of art within itself.
Yo...he was effed up. Cocaine is a helluva drug.
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Jennifer Clement's new novel Prayers for the Stolen was awarded the NEA Fellowship in Literature 2012 and will be published by Hogarth (USA and UK) in February 2014. The book has also been purchased by Suhrkamp, (Germany), Editions Flammarion, Gallimard (France), De Bezige Bij (Holland), Cappelen Damm (Norway), Hr Ferdinand (Denmark), Bonniers Förlag (Sweden), Laguna (Serbia), Euromedia (Czech Rep...more
More about Jennifer Clement...
Prayers for the Stolen The Poison That Fascinates A True Story Based on Lies New and Selected Poems Widow Basquiat: A Love Story

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