Among Gary's most accomplished works. Gary is in favor of significant moral action and against sanctimonious moral fervor. A fabulist in many small ways, he was in possession of one big compound truth: to believe that the human and the humane are naturally the same is one of the worst lies we tell ourselves; to think that they might yet become so is one of the better stories we share.
—Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

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

Filled with unforgettable characters who fling all they have into the fight to keep their hopes—and themselves—alive, The Kites is Romain Gary's poetic call for resistance in whatever form it takes. A war hero himself, Gary embraced and fought for humanity in all its nuanced complexities, in the belief that a hero might be anyone who has the courage to love and hope.

Editions: PaperbackClothboundEbook

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Paperback (published September 24, 2019)

ISBN
9780811229203
Price US
16.95
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
320

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

Among Gary's most accomplished works. Gary is in favor of significant moral action and against sanctimonious moral fervor. A fabulist in many small ways, he was in possession of one big compound truth: to believe that the human and the humane are naturally the same is one of the worst lies we tell ourselves; to think that they might yet become so is one of the better stories we share.
—Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker
A vivid text and a great saga about the innate dignity of love that avoids the twofold temptation of sentimentality and moral lessons.
—Muriel Barbery, New York Magazine
Blissful: in Gary's hands, fiction itself is a form of resistance.
The Guardian
[A] hugely enjoyable read.
The Guardian
Epic and empathetic.
BBC
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
What talent, most certainly, how many ideas and passions too. You seize us and shake us. Ah!
—Charles de Gaulle