Romain Gary David Leitch - Essay

David Leitch

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Emile Ajar—whoever he is—has lately become a household name in France. His fame stems from having declined a literary prize, the Goncourt [for La Vie devant Soi].

There were several other bull points for news editors in the 'affaire Ajar', not least the fact that his name is a pseudonym…. Naturally this began guessing games about his true identity: was he an already famous writer—Romain Gary, for instance—or a relation of his?…

In any case the novel became an immediate bestseller, even without the Goncourt imprimatur, while publishers and littérateurs savaged each other with a spite and gusto that would have made the appalling Goncourt...

(The entire section is 440 words.)