The Kites Summary and Reviews

The Kites

by Romain Gary (author), Miranda Richmond Mouillot (translator)

The Kites by Romain Gary (author), Miranda Richmond Mouillot (translator)
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Oct 31, 2017
    384 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

Romain Gary's bittersweet final masterpiece, a novel of courage and resistance - never before in English.

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Smart and wonderfully life-affirming; for a wide range of readers." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. A rich and layered love story that begins in innocence and moves through hardship toward a broad humanity." - Kirkus

"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

"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 a gold mine!" - Jean-Paul Sartre

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More Information

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 RAF pilot. He wrote under several pen names and is the only writer to have received the Prix Goncourt twice. A diplomat and filmmaker, Gary was married to the American actress Jean Seberg. He died in Paris in 1980 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Miranda Richmond Mouillot is a writer and translator and the author of A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France. She won a PEN/Heim Translation Award for The Kites.

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