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Au revoir et merci

Christopher Tayler: Romain Gary, 6 December 2018

The Roots of Heaven 
by Romain Gary, translated by Jonathan Griffin.
Godine, 434 pp., $18.95, November 2018, 978 1 56792 626 2
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Promise at Dawn 
by Romain Gary, translated by John Markham Beach.
Penguin, 314 pp., £9.99, September 2018, 978 0 241 34763 8
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... Prix Goncourt. It was translated into English a year later under the supervision of its author, Romain Gary. The Goncourt had come at an opportune moment: Gary, who was in his early forties, hadn’t been thought to be living up to his early promise. Sartre, Camus and Raymond Aron had praised his first book, a novel ...

Incompetents

Stephen Bann, 16 June 1983

Worstward Ho 
by Samuel Beckett.
Calder, 48 pp., £5.50, April 1983, 0 7145 3979 1
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That Voice 
by Robert Pinget, translated by Barbara Wright.
Red Dust (New York), 114 pp., $10.95, May 1983, 0 87376 041 7
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King Solomon 
by Romain Gary, translated by Barbara Wright.
Harvill, 256 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 00 261416 2
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A Year in Hartlebury, or The Election 
by Benjamin Disraeli and Sarah Disraeli.
Murray, 222 pp., £8.50, May 1983, 0 7195 4020 8
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The Sentimental Agents in the Volyen Empire 
by Doris Lessing.
Cape, 180 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 224 02130 3
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... by desire’. At first sight, there seems to be little in common between the novels of Pinget and Romain Gary’s King Solomon, if we discount the excellent translating services of Barbara Wright. With closer acquaintance, the gap is considerably reduced. But any reference to Gary’s late work requires first of all a ...

Diary

Robert Walshe: Bumping into Beckett, 7 November 1985

... ascendant, my spelling. For years, in the corner of the Left Bank where I do most of my walking, Romain Gary dogged my steps as I dogged his. A sadness overtook him and he is no longer here, but while he was alive he must have written more books on his feet than any man before or since. And he was marvellous to behold. Black cape, black hat, black ...

Isle of Dogs

Iain Sinclair, 10 May 1990

Pit Bull 
by Scott Ely.
Penguin, 218 pp., £4.99, March 1990, 0 14 012033 5
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... hate, that hates back, that is hate. An animal bred and trained until it is ‘viciated’, as Romain Gary has it in White Dog, his case-history of a German shepherd schooled to kill blacks on sight. We evidently require some ‘viciated’ thing, powerful enough to swallow all the bile of our ‘entropy tango’. As in previous times of plague, we ...

Pour a stiff drink

Tessa Hadley: Elizabeth Jane Howard, 6 February 2014

All Change 
by Elizabeth Jane Howard.
Mantle, 573 pp., £18.99, November 2013, 978 0 230 74307 6
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... a life – there were so many lovers, among them Arthur Koestler, Laurie Lee, Cecil Day-Lewis, Romain Gary – but its headlong adventures weren’t conducive to whatever self-possession it is that helps in writing. When she sold The Beautiful Visit, her first novel, in 1950, Jonathan Cape invited her to lunch then chased her round the table, warning ...

The earth had need of me

Joanna Biggs: A nice girl like Simone, 16 April 2020

Becoming Beauvoir: A Life 
by Kate Kirkpatrick.
Bloomsbury, 476 pp., £20, August 2019, 978 1 350 04717 4
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Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir and Me, a Memoir 
by Deirdre Bair.
Atlantic, 347 pp., £18.99, February, 978 1 78649 265 4
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Diary of a Philosophy Student, Vol. II: 1928-29 
by Simone de Beauvoir, translated by Barbara Klaw.
Illinois, 374 pp., £40, June 2019, 978 0 252 04254 6
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... had been overcome that none now seemed insuperable.’ Beauvoir might find herself listening to Romain Gary at the Rhumerie, or at a cocktail party with Elsa Triolet and Louis Aragon, or drinking whisky with Hemingway until dawn in his room at the Ritz, or talking to Nathalie Sarraute, or waiting in a cinema queue with Violette Leduc, or sitting on the ...

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