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92Y's Read By

Sep 6, 2020

Isabella Hammad on her selection:

Prisoner of Love is Jean Genet’s strange, recursive, resistant chronicle of the time he spent in the early 1970s with the Palestinian fedayeen in the refugee camps in Jordan. Edward Said called it “a seismographic reading, drawing and exposing the fault lines that a largely normal surface had hidden.” Throughout the book Genet meditates on the Black Panthers, whom he had visited in March 1970, just a few months prior to joining the Palestinians. In each context he describes feeling like a “dreamer inside a dream"; in each context he felt at home. He considers the similarities of the movements--both peoples are deprived of territory from which to launch their revolutions, and therefore rely on spectacle to assert themselves. But spectacle is transitory, and sometimes shades into illusion. Spectacle, says Genet, is  “the product of despair.”

Prisoner of Love at

Music: "Shift of Currents" by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0