cover image Prisoner of Love

Prisoner of Love

Jean Genet. Wesleyan University Press, $35 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-8195-5246-4

Reflecting Genet's sympathy for the outcast and his personal revolt against the established order, this dense, episodic montage records the years the Frenchman spent with the Black Panthers in the U.S. in the early 1970s and with Palestinian soldiers in Jordan and Lebanon until his death in 1986. Genet glorifies two male-dominated societies--the Panthers and the PLO--that recall the all-male worlds of his youth in reform school, the army and prison and strains to compare two ``virtual martyrs,'' neither possessing any territory of their own. Part anti-Zionist tract, part memoir and philosophical discourse, this uninhibited cascade of images and associations is less a political document than a map of Genet's mental landscape. (Apr.)