Summary and book reviews of The Kites by Romain Gary

The Kites by Miranda Richmond Mouillot, Romain Gary X
The Kites by Miranda Richmond Mouillot, Romain Gary
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Oct 2017, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts

Buy This Book

About this Book

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.

Nowadays, the little museum in Cléry devoted to the works of Ambrose Fleury is only a minor tourist attraction. Most of its visitors drift over after lunch at the Clos Joli, a restaurant that guidebooks unanimously praise as one of France's most celebrated landmarks. These same guidebooks note the little museum's existence with the words, "worth a side trip." The museum's five rooms hold most of my uncle's work — the pieces that survived the war, the Occupation, the Liberation fighting, and all the vicissitudes and lassitudes our people has known.

Whatever their country of origin, all kites are born in the popular imagination, which is what gives them their slightly naive look; Ambrose Fleury's kites were no exception, even the final pieces he made in his old age bear that stamp of innocence and that freshness of soul. Despite lagging interest and the slim funding it receives from the municipal government, it's unlikely the museum will close its doors ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Published by New Directions for the first time in English, Romain Gary's The Kites tells a story of heroism and hope as the inhabitants of the small town of ClĂ©ry in Normandy face occupation by the Nazis during World War II. The Kites' only flaw is that its principal characters are somewhat one-dimensional. ohn Markham Beach is a superb translator, ensuring through footnotes that the reader has access to Gary's many historical allusions and plays on words that require dual language explanation; The Kites is a moving love story that is an ode to the power of optimism.   (Reviewed by Lisa Butts).

Full Review Members Only (606 words).

Media Reviews

Time
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.

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

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

Publishers Weekly
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.

Author Blurb James Laughlin
Most delicious and extraordinary.

Author Blurb Jean-Paul Sartre
What a gold mine!

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

D-Day at Normandy

In the dramatic final pages of The Kites, the Allies arrive in Normandy to liberate its inhabitants from Nazi occupation, an event that occurred on June 6, 1944 and drastically altered the landscape of World War II. It was the most expansive amphibious invasion in history, with British, American, and Canadian flotillas storming five separate beaches simultaneously, with assistance from additional troops in the air. The entire assault was codenamed "Operation Overlord"; the naval assault was called "Operation Neptune." In total, the Allied forces numbered around 156,000, the vast majority arriving by sea.

Glimpse of the Normandy Invasion The Allied assault was led by General Dwight D. Eisenhower (who went on to be elected president of the United States in 1952). ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Miranda Richmond Mouillot

If you liked The Kites, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Winter Soldier
    The Winter Soldier
    by Daniel Mason
    Imagine the thousands of confounding cases doctors face routinely for which diagnoses are hard to ...
  • Book Jacket: Brother
    Brother
    by David Chariandy
    Brother is the brief, moving account of how a single, tragic moment in time can alter the course of ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Islamic Enlightenment
    by Christopher de Bellaigue
    In this comprehensive and well-researched history, de Bellaigue examines the evolution of Islamic ...
  • Book Jacket: The Spy of Venice
    The Spy of Venice
    by Benet Brandreth
    Benet Brandreth's delightfully diverting historical thriller brings the Bard to vibrant life. ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Removes by Tatjana Soli

A powerful, transporting novel about the addictive intensity and freedom of the American frontier.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    French Exit
    by Patrick deWitt

    A brilliant and darkly comic novel from bestselling author Patrick deWitt.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Clockmaker's Daughter

The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton

A rich, spellbinding new novel from the author of The Lake House. On sale Oct 9.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T Turn T S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.