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. * BOMB Magazine * 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 -- Boyd Tonkin 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 * A major literary star ... whose life was stranger than fiction * Guardian * A rebel French writer ... a brilliant storyteller, a master craftsman and one of France's most original writers * Independent * What talent, most certainly, how many ideas and passions too. You seize us and shake us. Ah! -- Charles de Gaulle What a gold mine! -- Jean Paul Sartre A truly beautiful novel -- David Bellos 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. -- Gal Beckerman * New York Times Book Review * 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 -- Adam Gopnik * The New Yorker * An extraordinary novel about lost love, memory, resistance to tyranny and individual lives caught up in the rush of history -- D. J. Taylor What struck me the most on reading The Kites was the energy and fervour needed to write such a text at a time when the author was so close to ending his own life. How do you create such an explosion of life and love when you are overwhelmed with the desire to die? 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 and situations that avoid the twofold temptation of sentimentality and moral lesson. He mixes the spirit of childhood with the acute intelligence of the mature man. He utilises frivolity and virtuous irony to give the tragedy of life its depth and greatness - and this eloquence, this taste for language and beauty in the shadow of death demonstrates the power of literature. So, after having mixed with a memorable crowd of truculent, touching, spectacular and comical characters, you finish the text with a lingering feeling of enchantment in spite of all the bereavements and adversities. -- Muriel Barbery What emerges, overwhelmingly, is the sense that, in Gary's hands, fiction itself is a form of resistance. * The Guardian * A hugely enjoyable read * Spectator * Captures [Romain Gary's] slightly absurd gallantry, his humor and compassion, and his love of all things French. * Haaretz * We can weep while reading this joyful novel -- Alan Moses * The Times Literary Supplement *
Romain Gary was one of the most important French writers of the 20th century. He won the once-in-a-lifetime honour the Prix Goncourt twice, the only person ever to have done so, by writing under a secret nom de plume. He was married to the American actress Jean Seberg and served in the RAF during WW2. He died in Paris in 1980 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, shortly after completing this haunting last work.