The Thief's Journal

The Thief's Journal



The Pequod Review:

The Thief's Journal is a fictionalized autobiographical novel of Jean Genet’s travels across the seedier parts of 1930s Europe. The book is less a novel than a series of disjointed set pieces, and Genet has a tendency to be too self-consciously transgressive. But the book nonetheless has moments of sharp observation:

Lucien was walking at my side. The only live things I had ever owned were lovely pricks, their roots buried in black moss. I cherished several such, and I wanted them in all the flower of their strength. These plants were my pride. Such was my fervor that their bearers themselves were amazed at their unwonted beauty. Nevertheless, each remained fastened, by a mysterious and solid base, to the male whose chief branch it was; he owned it more than I did. It was his. Some flies were buzzing around Lucien. My hand mentally made the gesture of chasing them away. This plant was going to belong to me.


Erotic play discloses a nameless world which is revealed by the nocturnal language of lovers. Such language is not written down. It is whispered into the ear at night in a hoarse voice. At dawn it is forgotten.