A New York Times Notable Book of 2018
'A rebel French writer ... a brilliant storyteller, a master craftsman and one of France's most original writers' Independent
'The Kites is a novel touched from beginning to end with grace, a great saga about the innate dignity of love that succeeds in the feat of being funny and poetic, tender and sharp, committed and fierce, with a touch of brilliance in the art of dialogue' Muriel Barbery, author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog
A quiet village in Normandy, 1932. Ludo is ten years old and lives with his uncle, a kindly, eccentric creator of elaborate kites. One day, sitting in a strawberry field, Ludo meets the beautiful young Polish aristocrat Lila. And so begins Ludo's lifelong adventure of love and longing for Lila, who only begins to return his feelings just as Europe descends into the devastation of World War 2. After Poland and France fall, Lila and Ludo are separated. Ludo's friends in the village must find their own ways of resisting: the local restaurateur who is dedicated above all to France's haute cuisine, a Jewish brothel madam who sleeps with her unwitting enemies and Ludo, who cycles past the Nazis every day, passing on messages for the French Resistance - thinking always of Lila.
The Kites is indeed a treasure, capable of accessing an enormous node of insight and almost-overwhelming beauty spliced with bittersweet candor... we are lucky to have it at last. We're going to need it.
This final work by a maverick genius of modern French fiction tells a story of love and war that's both charming and moving. It's a perfect introduction to the unique imagination of Romain Gary
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
A major literary star ... whose life was stranger than fiction
A rebel French writer ... a brilliant storyteller, a master craftsman and one of France's most original writers
What talent, most certainly, how many ideas and passions too. You seize us and shake us. Ah!
What a gold mine!
A truly beautiful novel
Gary is brilliant at capturing the existential emotion for which the title of "The Kites" is an obvious metaphor -- sky-bound yet tethered by that string.
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