To figure out who Gary was and how he arrived at his intricate marriage of absurdist comedy and humane instruction, you have to turn to that memoir, “Promise at Dawn,” a matchlessly entertaining and psychologically persuasive book. 

The New Yorker

A classic of modern French literature, the thrilling real-life story of the military hero, ambassador, ladies man, writer, and loving son

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. But above all he tells the story of the love for his mother that was his life—their secret and private planet, their wonderland “born out of a mother’s murmur into a child’s ear, a promise whispered at dawn of future triumphs and greatness, of justice and love.”

Your Independent Bookstore Barnes & Noble

Paperback (published October 31, 2017)

ISBN
9780811221986
Trim Size
5.6 x 1 x 8.3
Page Count
336

Ebook (published October 31, 2017)

ISBN
9780811222235
Price US
16.95
Price CN
20.98
Page Count
336

Romain Gary

Franco-Lithuanian novelist

To figure out who Gary was and how he arrived at his intricate marriage of absurdist comedy and humane instruction, you have to turn to that memoir, “Promise at Dawn,” a matchlessly entertaining and psychologically persuasive book. 

The New Yorker

[Tzvetan] Todorov praises the way Gary’s novels, unclouded by ideological intention and unflinching in the face of suffering, radiate colors at once “tragic” and “vibrant with joy and life.” Nowhere is Todorov’s praise truer than in Gary’s last novel, now appearing for the first time in English in the superb translation of Miranda Richmond Mouillot.

Jewish Review of Books

An origin myth full of inventions and omissions, Gary framed his artistic emergence as an unusual love story about his long-suffering mother’s mad devotion to him.

The New York Times

What talent, most certainly, how many ideas and passions too. You seize us and shake us. Ah!

—Charles de Gaulle

Perhaps the only memorial by a son that raises the rare literary pleasure of laughter in the reader as a measure of appreciation.

—Janet Flanner, The New Yorker

A celebrated and infinitely seductive portrait of his early life, which is still often described as an unprecedented innovation in the writing of autobiography in France.

—David Bellos