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Friday, March 11, 2016

Promise at Dawn (1960) by Romain Gary

Romain Gary was married to Jean Seberg, American actress.  She killed herself in 1979 and he followed in 1980.

Book Review
Promise at Dawn (1960)
by Romain Gary

   Who is Romain Gary, exactly? He is a French author of Russian-Jewish ancestry, by way of present day Lithuania and Warsaw.  He was a popular fellow in his day, an actual French diplomat and certified French war hero.  Promise at Dawn is his biography-novel, written in the first person, about growing up with his heroic Russian-Jewish mother.  The end product is like a cross between Woody Allen and Ayn Rand, with humor and remarkable self reliant achievement walking hand in hand.

  I think the essential combination that makes Romain Gary interesting is the combining of a nerdy French/Russian/Jewish momma's boy with a mid 20th century man-of-action.  It bears mentioning anytime a 20th century work of literature contains anything resembling "action."  Although authors that portray virile, macho, alpha male types might not be in favor of these days, they really did represent a departure from the mainstream literary culture of the time.   Gary is not any kind of theorist of literature but he spins a good yard.  He's like a variation on the dashing English gent that you might encounter in a Graham Greene novel.


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