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Genet: A Biography
by Edmund White
ISBN 0394571711 / 9780394571713 / 0-394-57171-1
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The definitive biography of Jean Genet, the incomparable French novelist whose works echo with themes of violent hierarchies, rituals of power and powerlessness and human identities as roles to be traded and manipulated. From his birth in 1911 to his adoption by foster parents and his tumultuous life as a runaway, thief, beggar and prostitute, Genet had remarkable powers of self-transformation, ultimately turning the pain of his life into writings that attracted the attention of literary trend-setter Jean Cocteau. Genet's work covered an amazing amount of social, political and intellectual territory. By diving into that which was awkward, ugly and painful, he emerged with the truth, transforming himself and others with its beauty. White earned the 1993 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography for this fine work. [via]