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Querelle

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3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  1,511 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
Regarded by many critics as Jean Genet’s highest achievement in the novel –– certainly one of the landmarks of postwar French literature. The story of a dangerous man seduced by peril, Querelle deals in a startling way with the Dostoyevskian theme of murder as an act of total liberation.
Paperback, 276 pages
Published January 13th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1947)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Tosh
Apr 26, 2008 Tosh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Inderjit Sanghera
The world of Genet reverberates with blood and poetry, violence and vituperation are transmogrified into poetry, a punch into a flower whose petals scatter via the wind of Genet’s prose, like the blood of the toughs and thugs who populate Genet’s novels. Genet’s remarkable alchemy, in which the story of a serial killer becomes a kind of paean to murder and Querelle a high poet of murder, resembles the alchemy which Querelle himself undertakes of friends who he betrays but transforms into the gol ...more
regina
Apr 14, 2016 regina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: If you liked the film POISON
Shelves: readagain
It's been about 2 decades since I read Querelle, but the scenes and poetic style marked me like a tattooed 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 the Todd Haynes' film, Poison, and if you enjoy exploring the minds of the damaged and desperate, Querelle is the book for you.

It is a master's work an
...more
Emily
Nov 17, 2008 Emily rated it it was amazing
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 fe
...more
Stephen Brody
May 11, 2016 Stephen Brody rated it really liked it
Jean Genet, the baddest bad boy of French literature and raker-in-the-mud of crime and depravity, can to a less queasy generation be somewhat tediously repetitive and cliché-ridden when he’s over-industriously churning his own obsessions into ‘poetry’- yet another hoodlum with rose-petals fluttering around him. Notre Dame des Fleurs, trying to outdo Baudelaire and Rimbaud, is without doubt brilliantly original and powerful but as literature really a bit of a mess. Querelle de Brest, some time la ...more
Don
Nov 25, 2015 Don rated it it was ok
I read Querelle after finishing Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward (a must read), in which Steward tries for years to get his translation of it published in English, to no avail. Genet's book originally appeared in French in the 40's and Steward was simply too far ahead of his time in thinking that the subject matter would be accepted in the US. Steward, and several of his literary companions, shared a reverence for Genet and Querelle in particular….one going so far as to tra ...more
diana
Jul 11, 2014 diana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, novela, l-francesa

Esta es la obra de un santo, una Anunciación dionisíaca. Parece que durante miles de años olvidé lo realmente importante. El cuerpo de un hombre, que es parecido a todos los hombres, a todos los errores amorosos que arrastro como lectora mujer heterosexual. El arrepentimiento es histérico, femenino, malamente católico. En Querelle no hay arrepentimiento por nada. Sí, hay melancolía superficial, pero la gloria es, aquí y siempre, la vitalidad. La pro-yección hacia una vida (y una literatura, una

...more
Mariel
Mar 23, 2011 Mariel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sorry or please
Recommended to Mariel by: the more you ignore me the closer I get
I'm not feeling inspired. I went to bed super early on New Year's Eve. It wasn't even seven p.m. yet. My big plans for the night was watching my dvd of Fassbinder's Querelle. I fell asleep some point. I felt overwhelmingly tired. Maybe waking up at 3 a.m. had something to do it. I still feel tired (same reason. Instead of early birds getting worms I just feel wormy). More than anything, my brain is pushing through extra brain fogginess. I apologize in advance if this doesn't make any sense (that ...more
Mike
Jul 24, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 citie ...more
Tristan Goding
Nov 13, 2015 Tristan Goding rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
QUERELLE is a book that manages to be poetic, stylish, sinister, sensitive, intense, delirious, beautiful, erotic, rich, complex, grotesque, strange, and very violent all at the same time. It's one of those books that manages to be tastefully tasteless, despite there being no moral compass or structure. There is a remarkable amount of sensitivity, despite the intensive and pre-ordained destitution. Like CRASH, it's a novel about being human. Unlike CRASH, however, the damaged characters in QUERE ...more
Cameron
May 30, 2013 Cameron rated it really liked it
I was led to Querelle via Flowers and Thief's Journal. Querelle is a complex narrative of antisocial characters who have as many motives. It has a style peculiar to Genet, but I wasn't so keen on this book as the latter two. In the end I considered Querelle so antisocial that he would stop at nothing to amuse his desire for self preservation; a sad predicament that raises neither sympathy nor identification. This young man is evil and unlovable and thereby stands alone in the world with his own ...more
Errol Barnes
May 10, 2013 Errol Barnes rated it really liked it
Shelves: november-books
It might have been my favorite Genet book if I could just get the cast of the Fassbinder movie out of mind while reading it. Don't see the movie first, it's a piece of shit, a worthwhile piece of shit (Franco Nero as Lt. Seblon was (the only) great casting decision), but don't ruin this otherwise pretty amazing book by seeing it first.
Jerome K
Sep 04, 2007 Jerome K rated it it was ok
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.
Chris
Jun 23, 2007 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queerinterest
historical note, he was making fun of the closeted and muched adored french author pierre loti and his book my friend yves.
Greg
Jan 24, 2013 Greg rated it it was amazing
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.
Carolyn Gandouin
Mar 10, 2016 Carolyn Gandouin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was reading this book on the train, and the lady seated next to me suddenly glared at me in indignant self-righteousness and hissed 'that's DISGUSTING.'
Janarchy
Gay French maritime murder-porn! Pretty good read, too.
Mark
May 06, 2009 Mark rated it it was ok
i'll quote directly from page 255. "this book goes on for too many pages, and it bores us."
Jeff
Nov 25, 2011 Jeff rated it really liked it
Far and away Genet's most accessible novel. Raw, lusty, dangerous and beautiful.
Czarny Pies
Dec 02, 2016 Czarny Pies rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Personne. Ce livre est immonde.
Shelves: french-lit
L'univers très spèciale de petits criminels homosexuels de Jean Genest choque la première fois que le lecteur y visite. La deuxième fois, il le dégoûté. Si vous avez déjà lu "Notre dame des fleurs", vous ne devez pas perdre votre temps avec "Querelle de Brest" qui n'offre rien de nouveau. À mon avis, Genet était meilleur dramaturge que romancier et ceux veulent aller plus loin dans le catalogue de Genet seront mieux de lire plus de ses pièces de théâtre.
Aux yeux de Genet, tous les tapettes et pé
...more
Neondreamer
Oct 13, 2016 Neondreamer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Απαράδεκτα βαρετό βιβλίο, απαράδεκτη μη ύπαρξη συνοχής, γραφή σε αρρωστημένο βαθμό ακατανόητη, δε μπορούσα με τίποτα να συγχρονιστώ. Μακρυά.
Thomas
Oct 11, 2016 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
it's good although some of the british colloquialisms this translator used were a bit silly
tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE
Well.. After 33 yrs or so of reading Genet.. I reckon he just doesn't do it for me anymore. The things that I probably found energizing when I 1st started reading his bks, the criminal philosophizing, is mostly tedious to me now. &.. the cocks.. oh am I sick of the cocks.. Do we really exist in a society where people can think of little else other than cock size? How boring. Big cocks & little minds.

I saw the Fassbinder film based on this bk when it came out, around 1982. Id' already se
...more
Edie Maas
Dec 29, 2016 Edie Maas rated it really liked it
3.75

Gah! A beautiful mess. More overloaded than anyone this side of Proust with startlingly comprehensive insights into the logic/language/processes of thought... Except, unlike Proust, refusing linear ordering; settling over the story like some sort of dense and omniscient fog; explaining the motivations of every. single. character...

Plenty of poetic explorations of love and violence and redemption and death...

And much queer sailor sex (wondrously, if luridly, enhanced by a viewing of Fassbinde
...more
Leonard Klossner
Feb 13, 2016 Leonard Klossner rated it really liked it
The characters in Genet's Querelle, like the thieving prostituting criminal who wrote it, are almost all thieves and/or murderers (some dearly wish to become one), pimps or prostitutes. They are all deceptively young--one would think that, having read of the circumstances of their unlawful exploits, that they were much older than teenagers--and just about every one, including the police and a Navy lieutenant, are homosexual.


Genet's treatment of the bawdy young criminals leave us unable to con
...more
Halvor (Raknes)
There is deep penetration in this book. 'Bareback' doesn't even begin to mimic the raw realism of Genet's exploration of explosive intimate encounters between virtual archetypes of masculinity (and centrally, one female as well – the 'Madam'). These encounters, however, are simply perfunctory part of the ontological stream of Genet's profound meanderings in the doings, motives and psychological stirrings of the protagonist as well as those of several other characters with whom we are becoming in ...more
Tim
May 15, 2014 Tim rated it it was ok
Mixed reactions to this book. I like Genet's writing. He's poetic. The writing is like sifting sand, swirling to form new mosaics. It shifts, revealing something just below the sand's surface and then shifts again. The landscape is constantly altered. I liked that. It kept the reading interesting although the writing felt weaker towards the end. I would open another Genet book.

I gave this one two stars, however, because I simply didn't like the story. The characters were emotionally underdevelop
...more
Tyler
Aug 20, 2010 Tyler rated it it was ok
Shelves: gay-interest
In other Genet books I’ve read the stories build out from some real experience of the author's. In Querelle the author weaves the story out of the whole cloth of his imagination. I found this approach somehow less satisfying.

This metaphor-rich imagination treats readers to a steady rhythm of richly descriptive prose. Genet exhibits remarkable authorial control over his narrative, often intervening in it directly, and that, too, works nicely for his style. Though lacking a specific denouement, th
...more
Willo Font
Dec 09, 2015 Willo Font rated it liked it
I read the Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward (a must read), in which Steward tries for years to get his translation of Jean Genet, Querelle it published in English, to no avail. Genet's book originally appeared in French in the 40's and Steward was simply too far ahead of his time in thinking that the subject matter would be accepted in the US. Steward, and several of his literary companions, shared a reverence for Genet and Querelle in particular….one going so far as to tra ...more
Jennifer Collins
The world of Querelle is immoral, erotic, and steeped in secrets. The prose is consistently poetic and sensual, alternately directed by characters lost to immoral behaviors and characters hiding from their own desires. And then, of course, the characters are all surrounded by sex and murder, if not directly engaging in both.

The back of the edition I own notes that the word "deals in a startling way with the Dostoevskian theme of murder as an act of total liberation", and the reference to Dostoev
...more
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Jean Genet was a prominent, controversial French writer and later political activist. Early in his life he was a vagabond and petty criminal, but later took to writing novels, plays, poems, and essays, including Querelle de Brest, The Thief's Journal, Our Lady of the Flowers, The Balcony, The Blacks and The Maids.
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“She was happy, and perfectly in line with the tradition of those women they used to call "ruined," "fallen," feckless, bitches in heat, ravished dolls, sweet sluts, instant princesses, hot numbers, great lays, succulent morsels, everybody's darlings . . . ” 43 likes
“Ah those knock-out body fluids: blood, sperm, tears!” 23 likes
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