Jean Genet’s seminal Our Lady of the Flowers is generally considered to be his finest fictional work. Written while he was in prison for burglary and published in 1944 in French as Notre-Dame des Fleurs, the book and its author were championed by many contemporary writers, including Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean Cocteau, who helped engineer a pardon for Genet. A wildly imaginative fantasy of the Parisian underworld, the novel tells the story of Divine, a male prostitute who consorts with thieves, pimps, murderers, and other criminals and who has many sexual adventures. Composed in lyrical, dreamlike prose, the novel affirms a new order where moral conventions are tuned on their head, sinners are portrayed as saints and evil is viewed with benign indifference if not actually glorified. Whether one finds Genet’s work shocking or thrilling, the novel remains almost as revolutionary today as when it was first published. Please consider joining the SAGE Book Group in discussion. All are welcome – no reservation is required.