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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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... novel, The Roots of Heaven was published in France as Les Racines du ciel in 1956, winning the Prix Goncourt. It was translated into English a year later under the supervision of its author, RomainGary. 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 ...

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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... he implies, can the likely failure be avoided: ‘Repetition of facts that are no longer united by desire’. At first sight, there seems to be little in common between the novels of Pinget and RomainGary’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 ...

Diary

Robert Walshe: Bumping into Beckett

7 November 1985
... down and those who do it walking along. I am not at all sure that the peripathetics are not in the ascendant, my spelling. For years, in the corner of the Left Bank where I do most of my walking, RomainGary 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 ...

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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... watchful, but not appearing to watch, always on guard. We have created a totemic animal we can openly hate, that hates back, that is hate. An animal bred and trained until it is ‘viciated’, as RomainGary 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 ...

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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... t worth much, was unprepared for a world of men who found her beautiful. Jane Howard’s was quite a life – there were so many lovers, among them Arthur Koestler, Laurie Lee, Cecil Day-Lewis, RomainGary – 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 ...

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