156 / French Forum / Spring 2009 / Vol. 34, No. 2 havior while incarcerated. Bon associates the criminal behavior of these young convicts with a dangerous lack of stability in their lives, a deficit that originates in earlier experiences, beyond their control, with "homelessness, recent immigration, poverty, fractured families, and an inadequate social safety net" (147). This is a compelling idea that aligns Bon's project in Prison with a politically informed kind of fiction from France (think Didier Daeninckx) that melds the art of storytelling with verifiably documented or historically accurate facts as a way to excoriate the past and present ills of French society more than the foibles and wrongdoings of the characters these fictions portray. Thanks to the strength of readings like these, Jail Sentences will surely interest scholars and students of modern French literature. Given the place that the various representations of "correction" occupy on the cultural stage today, this fascinating, lucidly written book is also bound to intrigue more general audiences as well. The success of recent films and television programs like Oz, Prison Break, The Shawshank Redemption, and Dead Man Walking attests to the continued appeal of narratives about life in jail.
French Forum – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jan 31, 2009
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