For anyone studying a foreign language text, a translation is a great way to get the gist of it without having to plough through it with a dictionary first. If you ARE studying Journal du Voleur though, beware of this one. Although it is, for the most part, a pretty faithful version, the translator, for reasons best left to himself, has inserted great chunks of narrative that don't feature in the original, mostly to do with Genet's sexual encounters, so for god's sake don't put all your faith in this version. For those of you who have no idea about Genet, he was a homosexual writer who counted Cocteau and Sarte among his friends and supporters and wrote The Thief's Journal in the late forties. It is based on his experiences of being a thief and homosexual travelling around Europe and his encounters with various men, most notably Stilitano who he almost worships. It had to be published anonymously in Switzerland to prevent an enormous outcry - as it was, Genet was banned from entering the US for years on the grounds of being a deviant. He demands a degree of complicity from the reader, but at the same time keeps us at a distance, manipulating us to his will in order to convey his rejection of society and simultaneous need to be condemned by the same. It's a disturbing read at times - his subjection is deliberately humiliating - but fascinating in terms of how the author can hijack language for his own gains. Genet takes a fairly colourful attitude to factual biography so don't trust his word completely, but as an exploration of submissiveness, love, prison and beauty, you won't find a much more interesting read than this.
If you're looking to buy this then you probably know what to expect, seeing as Genet isn't exactly up there with the "Twilight" saga in terms of popularity right now... Part fact, part fiction, this details the author's journey through 1930s Europe, focusing around frequent incarcerations and homosexual love affairs with a variety of people. Yes, it's complicated, yes, it's bizarre, but it's also fantastic and well worth the read. His most famous work, and definitely recommended.
WHEN I WAS A YOUNG STUDENT WE WERE GIVEN THE BK THE CRUEL SEA TO STUDY.AS A YOUNG GAY MAN 15 YRS OLD I FOUND THE CRUEL SEA VERY DIFFICULT AS IT WAS ALIEN TO MY SENSIBILITY.I FAILED THE EXAM.AT AGE 17 I DISCOVERED GENET AND READ THIS BOOK IT WAS RELIVATION I HAD FOUND A WRITER THAT WAS ON THE SAME WAVELENGTH .H SUBSEQUENTLY READ ALL OF GENETS WORKS.MIRACLE OF THE ROSE.FUNERAL RITES .QUERELLE OF BREST ETC ALL ARE EXCELLENT .HOWEVER MANY ARE BADLY TRANSLATED THINGS GET WILDLY MISINTURPRETED BY TRANSLATERS THE BIBLE IS A GD EXAMPLE OF THIS.I U READ FRENCH I RECOMMEND THE ORIGINALS THAT ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BEST PARIS BOOKSHOPS