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 Nazi-occupied France to fight for the British as an aviator. He wrote under several pen names and is the only writer to have received the Prix de Goncourt twice. Gary was also a diplomat and filmmaker, and was married to the American actress Jean Seberg. He died in Paris in 1980 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The Kites

Fiction by Romain Gary

Translated from the French by Miranda Richmond Mouillot

On a small farm in Normandy, as Hitler rises to power in Germany, young Ludo comes of age in the care of his Uncle Ambrose, an eccentric mailman, kite-maker, and pacifist. Ludo’s quiet existence changes the day he meets Lila, a girl from the aristocratic Polish family who own the estate next door. In a single glance, Ludo instantly falls in love forever; Lila, on the other hand, remains elusive. Thus begins Ludo’s adventure of longing, passion, and steadfast love for Lila, who begins to reciprocate his feelings just as Europe descends into war.…
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Promise at Dawn

Fiction by Romain Gary

I grew up longing for the day when I could tear down the veil of darkness and absurdity concealing the true face of the universe and discover at last a smile of kindness and wisdom; I grew up in the certitude that one day I should help my fellow men to wrest the world from our enemies and give back the earth to those who ennoble it with their courage and warm it with their love.…
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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.…
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