Romain Gary

Romain Gary (1914–1980) was born Roman Kacew in Vilnius to a family of Lithuanian Jews. He changed his name when he fled occupied France to fight the Nazis as an RAF pilot. Using several different pen names throughout his life, Gary was the only writer to have received the Prix Goncourt twice. Also a diplomat and a filmmaker, Gary was married to the American actress Jean Seberg. He died in Paris in 1980 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Promise at Dawn

Fiction by Romain Gary

“I grew up in the certitude that one day I should help give back the earth to those who ennoble it with their courage and warm it with their love.” Promise at Dawn begins as the story of a mother’s sacrifice: alone and poor, she fiercely battles to give her son the very best. Romain Gary chronicles his childhood in Russia, Poland, and on the French Riviera and recounts his adventurous life as a young man fighting for France in World War II.…
More Information

The Kites

Fiction by Romain Gary

Translated by Miranda Richmond Mouillot

The Kites begins with a young boy, Ludo, coming of age on a small farm in Normandy under the care of his eccentric kite-making Uncle Ambrose. Ludo’s life changes the day he meets Lila, a girl from the aristocratic Polish family that owns the estate next door. In a single glance, Ludo falls in love forever; Lila, on the other hand, disappears back into the woods. And so begins Ludo’s adventure of longing, passion, and love for the elusive Lila, who begins to reciprocate his feelings just as Europe descends into World War II.…
More Information

The Life Before Us

Fiction by Romain Gary

Translated by Ralph Manheim

The Life Before Us is the story of an orphaned Arab boy, Momo, and his devotion to Madame Rosa, a dying, 68-year-old, 220-lb. survivor of Auschwitz and retired “lady of the night.” Momo has been one of the ever-changing ragbag of whores’ children at Madame Rosa’s boardinghouse in Paris ever since he can remember. But when the check that pays for his keep no longer arrives and as Madame Rosa becomes too ill to climb the stairs to their apartment, he determines to support her any way he can.…
More Information
Blissful: in Gary’s hands, fiction itself is a form of resistance.
The Guardian
[A] hugely enjoyable read.
The Guardian
Epic and empathetic.
BBC
What talent, most certainly, how many ideas and passions too. You seize us and shake us. Ah!
—Charles de Gaulle
< Djuna Barnes Osamu Dazai >