Rendered in English for the first time, Gary’s last novel before committing suicide tells a story of the French Resistance as it was lived in the Norman countryside while also capturing the themes of identity and reinvention that obsessed the celebrated French author.

New York Times

Romain Gary’s bittersweet final masterpiece, a novel of courage and resistance—never before in English

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. After Germany invades Poland, Lila and her family disappear, and Ludo’s journey to save her from the Nazis becomes a journey to save his loved ones, his country, and ultimately himself.

Filled with unforgettable characters—an indomitable chef who believes Michelin stars are more enduring than military conquests; a Jewish brothel Madam who reinvents everything about herself during the war; a piano virtuoso turned RAF pilot—The Kites is Romain Gary’s poetic call for resistance in whatever form it takes.

Your Independent Bookstore Barnes & Noble

Clothbound (published October 31, 2017)

ISBN
9780811226547
Price US
27.95
Price CN
36.95
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
384

Ebook (published October 31, 2017)

ISBN
9780811226554

Romain Gary

Franco-Lithuanian novelist

Rendered in English for the first time, Gary’s last novel before committing suicide tells a story of the French Resistance as it was lived in the Norman countryside while also capturing the themes of identity and reinvention that obsessed the celebrated French author.

New York Times

More than a humorist, more than a storyteller, he’s a moralist, an independent and significant student of the struggle to tell right from wrong, good conduct from bad. This struggle took place within a life that was, as people like to say, itself as good a story as any novel that he wrote, though it was, in truth, the novel he was always writing. “The Kites,” which is among Gary’s most accomplished works, is a fine place to begin. 

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

Just before he killed himself, Gary published his last novel — and one of his best — “The Kites,” which has never before appeared in English but has now been given a stylish translation by Miranda Richmond Mouillot.

The New York Times

Gary handles the emotional tightrope of espionage and the brutal reality of battle with clarity and precision, all captured magnificently by Mouillot’s translation…This is a wonderful translation of a French classic.

Publishers Weekly

Unbelievably, two-time Prix Goncourt winner Gary’s luminous last work is only now appearing in English, but it was worth the wait… Gary uses limpid, accessible language (deftly translated) to deliver certain truths: memory can ground us or blind us; imagination, perhaps even a bit of craziness, is essential for survival; and we cannot easily be divided into heroes and villains. Smart and wonderfully life-affirming.

Library Journal

A treasure.

BOMB

What a gold mine!

—Jean-Paul Sartre

A rich and layered love story that begins in innocence and moves through hardship toward a broad humanity.

Kirkus

Romain Gary has created a gallery of heroes who are willing to die for liberty but have to settle for the lesser victory of self-knowledge.

TIME

Most delicious and extraordinary.

—James Laughlin