'The man who wears the uniform of a sailor is in no way pledged or bound to obey the rules of prudence...'
First published in 1947, revised for Gallimard in 1953, Querelle of Brest is widely considered to be Jean Genet's most accomplished novel, its renown further aided by Rainer Werner Fassbinder's film adaptation of 1982.
Querelle, a young sailor at large in the port of Brest, is an object of illicit desire to his diary-keeping superior officer Lieutenant Seblon. He is coveted, too, by corrupt policeman Mario. He gives himself freely both to brothel-keeper Madame Lysiane and to her husband. But Querelle is a thief and a murderer - not a man to be trusted or trifled with.
'Genet takes seriously the threat latent in sexuality, and drags us with him to a confrontation with the basest of angels.' Michael Levenson, Harper's