Summary and book reviews of The Kites by Romain Gary

The Kites by Romain Gary, Miranda Richmond Mouillot X
The Kites by Romain Gary, Miranda Richmond Mouillot
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  • Published:
    Oct 2017, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts

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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.

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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).

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!

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