Home > 20th Century, About an author, French Literature, Gary, Romain, Novel, Uncategorized > Romain Gary Literature Month: let’s get started!

Romain Gary Literature Month: let’s get started!

Gary_CentenaireHere we are! 1st of May! I declare that the Romain Gary Literature Month is open. Back in January, I mentioned that 2014 is the centenary of Romain Gary’s birth. It is an event in France. Le Vin des morts, his first novel written under his real name Romain Kacew has been published. Lectures are organised and Folio publishes La Promesse de l’aube with a cover mentioning the anniversary. I’ve decided it will be the banner for this event. Let’s celebrate Romain Gary! I’ve been showering you with billets and quotes by him since January. I hope you were tempted to try one of his novels; I tried to pick passages from different books.

I will be reading White Dog in English and write a billet here. If you decide to participate, please, leave a comment with the link to your review. I’ll read them all.  If you don’t have a blog and want to publish a guest review on Book Around The Corner, please contact me via email or by leaving a comment. In any case, comments are welcome, I’m looking forward to discovering your thoughts, positive or negative, about my favourite author.

Now, let’s look at covers:


  1. May 1, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    I have chosen Gros-Câlin and will post.


    • May 4, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Thanks David. I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts about Gros Câlin. I hope you’ll like it.


  2. May 1, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    WOW, awesome new cover for La Promesse de l’aube…a must-buy…even though I don’t speak French, I love to collect his books, I mean, look at these stunning covers. (I also collect his and Seberg’s photos, I have two framed at home.)

    I always say, more love for Gary…I’ve read a lot of books in my life and I think if you put all of them, and all the other writers living or dead makes no difference one on top of the other from the earth up to the moon, it couldn’t match the size and the greatness of Gary in my heart.

    As for my favorites, I have actually two that I can’t really split. They are:

    as Gary, The Roots Of Heaven
    as Ajar, Gros-Calin

    Gary says, “However different the two books may seem, they are the one and the same lament about solitude. Men need friendship.”

    it’s so true. you can notice a lot of similarities between them, the protection of nature, sadness, loneliness, hope, resistance…

    Here are two quotes from those books…

    The Roots Of Heaven…

    “No one knew the desert better than Schölscher did, having spent so many nights alone there on the starlit dunes, and no one understood better than he did that need for protection which sometimes grips men’s hearts and drives them to give a dog the affection they dream so desperately of receiving themselves.”


    “There are sparrows which will perch on the palm of a man’s hand; you put some bread crumbs in your hand and in a little while, if you’re patient, they will come. But you can’t spend your life with bread crumbs and sparrows in your hand; because it’s an impossibility, in the end they fly away. When I was a child, I used to bring into the dormitory where we were sheltering, a strapping great dog which I had invented myself; it had a black nose, long lovesick ears and looks that were full of human frailties; it would come every evening and lick my face after I’d gone to bed; but later when I grew up, it didn’t come any more. I still ask myself what became of it, because in truth it couldn’t do anything without me.”

    (Les Cerfs-volants also a very great book. my third favorite.)

    I cannot wait to hear others’ thoughts and feelings about him.

    And lastly my message to the world: do yourself a favor and read Gary.

    Thanks a lot for the opportunity…


    • May 4, 2014 at 2:36 pm


      Thanks again for the quotes and the enthusiasm. I hope that new readers will discover Romain Gary this month. (at least Guy and Vishy will)
      I have a question for you: you say you don’t speak French and then quote a paragraph from Gros Câlin, which isn’t available in English. In which language did you read it?


      • May 4, 2014 at 5:22 pm

        Your welcome. Oh right! I should have told this before, most of his books have been translated into Turkish. Greetings from Turkey.


        • May 4, 2014 at 8:35 pm

          OK. I’ve heard from another Turkish fan of Gary’s that he’s well translated into Turkish.


  3. May 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    This is so wonderful, Emma! Thanks for hosting this event! I can’t wait to read my first Romain Gary book. Just started ‘Promise at Dawn’. Loving it so far! I cheated and read some passages in between and it is so wonderful. Now, I am planning to read it properly from the beginning 🙂 I hope I can read ‘Les Racines du Ciel’ also sometime. I loved your description of it. Happy Romain Gary month! Happy reading!


    • May 4, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      Thanks for participating. The Roots of Heaven is available in English but I don’t know if it’s the same book as in French. I’ve already noticed twice with Adieu Gary Cooper / The Ski Bum and Chien blanc / White Dog that the English editions aren’t the exact translation of the French book.
      I’m half tempted to order used copies of his novels in English to check them.


  4. Florence
    May 5, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Je viens de finir “La vie devant soi” et j’ai adoré, c’est un magicien de la langue française, à la fois poète et humoriste, toujours intelligent et délicat.
    C’était tellement différent de “la promesse de l’aube”, le premier que j’ai lu de Romain Gary, que j’ai décidé d’enchainer avec un troisième, il ne reste plus qu’à choisir….


    • May 5, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      Ravie que tu aies aimé ces deux Gary.
      Pour la suite, Gros Câlin peut être un bon choix. Ou Adieu Gary Cooper.


  5. Déborah
    May 6, 2014 at 9:08 pm


    Je commence pour ma part à relire “Adieu, Gary Cooper”.
    J’ai rencontré les livres de Romain Gary à 15 ans, en classe de seconde, grâce à ma professeur de français : “La vie devant soi” et “La promesse de l’aube” je crois. Puis j’ai acheté tous ses livres et je me suis passionnée pour lui et ses livres.

    Celui que j’ai le plus lu est “Education européenne”. Je le recommande à Florence. Peut-être parce que c’est le premier qu’il a écrit, je lui trouve une “fraîcheur” dans l’écriture et dans l’histoire.

    Certains livres, individuellement, me semblent parfois un peu lourd dans leur écriture : je pense par exemple à “La danse de Gengis Cohn” qui se termine si je me souviens bien dans une sorte de grosse orgie. Mais même ces livres là je les apprécie pour ce qu’ils apportent à l’oeuvre dans l’ensemble.
    Je trouve que chez Gary chaque livre a une chose à dire. Ses livres sont bourrés de phrases que l’on peut prendre en citation, comme “Il faut d’abord beaucoup d’amour donné pour faire un traître, beaucoup de mains tendues, pour faire une trahison… ” dans “Le grand vestiaire”. Pour moi, c’est tout l’art d’exprimer clairement des idées que nous autres ne faisons que ressentir. Celle-ci exprime en outre toute la fraternité dont Gary était habité.

    J’avais entrepris de relire les livres de Romain Gary dans l’ordre où il les avait écrit, pour suivre l’évolution de son oeuvre et je comptais relever les passages où apparaît le baron, personnage énigmatique au plus haut point, pour lequel je n’ai pas trouvé d’explication éclairante dans les différents articles que j’ai pu lire. Si quelqu’un a une idée sur le sujet…

    Bonne lecture à tous.


    • May 7, 2014 at 10:50 pm


      Merci d’être passée par là et d’avoir laissé ce superbe message. Quelle chance d’avoir lu Romain Gary en classe! Ça change de Racine et Corneille, n’est-ce pas? Je n’ai pas encore rencontré de lecteur qui, ayant eu un Gary entre les mains, n’ait pas envie d’en lire un autre.

      J’adore Adieu Gary Cooper, je l’ai lu plusieurs fois. J’ai un faible pour Jess et Lenny. Je devrais relire Education Européenne. C’était un de mes choix pour ce mois-ci mais j’ai préféré lire la version anglaise de Chien Blanc. Je recommande aux Français de jeter un oeil aux versions anglaises des livres de Gary. The Ski Bum, qui correspond à Adieu Gary Cooper est un peu pâle comparé à sa version française. White Dog est différent de Chien Blanc mais pas autant que The Ski Bum par rapport à Adieu Gary Cooper.
      J’ai trouvé La Danse de Gengis Cohn difficile même si je trouve l’idée du dibukk juif qui hante un cerveau allemand totalement hilarante. Ce livre manque des conseils d’un bon éditeur, je trouve. Il aurait dû être retravaillé.
      Lire Gary, c’est attraper la citationnite aigüe. On passe son temps à relever des citations. Cet homme avait le don pour dire des choses incroyables en peu de mots, avec une tournure fantastique et une poésie lumineuse.
      Je n’ai pas d’idée sur le personnage du Baron. Est-ce l’auteur qui se glisse dans son livre, comme Hitchcock apparaît subrepticement dans ses films?

      Bonne relecture de Gary et à bientôt.



  6. May 9, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Promise at Dawn is my next scheduled read, as soon as I finish Madame Solario.

    Of course, with my current reading rate that may be another week yet… Work, always work.


    • May 9, 2014 at 6:14 pm

      Hi Max,

      I hope work will leave you enough time to finish Madame Solario and read Promise at Dawn. I’m looking forward to reading your review.


  7. May 24, 2014 at 4:54 am

    Thanks for hosting this event. It spurred me to read The Roots of Heaven and review it at my blog, The Frugal Chariot (http://frugalchariot.blogspot.com/2014/05/passion-for-freedom-and-dignity.html). It is a novel worthy of the praise and prizes it has received.


    • May 24, 2014 at 7:23 am

      Thanks for participating and for this great review of The Roots of Heaven.


  8. May 28, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    I so wanted to read a Romain Gary but things have been crazy here, between the magazine schedule and my son’s broken heart. So I’m unilaterally extending Romain Gary month to include the summer, and I will review him as soon as I can. Looking forward to reading others’ reviews, too.


    • May 29, 2014 at 10:49 am

      Hi, I hope your son will feel better soon.
      I’m looking forward to reading your review the Gary you’ll read.

      I’ll publish a post with links to reviews, at the end of the month. I’m afraid I didn’t win him a lot of new readers, though.


      • May 30, 2014 at 4:54 pm

        There are probably lots more people now who want to try a Romain Gary novel, even if they haven’t got around to it yet – and plenty more in the future who’ll find these posts via search engines. What I like best about the internet is that it does slowly but surely disseminate knowledge. You did a great thing by hosting the month.


        • May 31, 2014 at 4:55 pm

          You’re probably right. Thanks.


  1. May 17, 2014 at 11:21 am
  2. May 22, 2014 at 3:30 pm
  3. May 22, 2014 at 3:30 pm

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