Romain Gary G. Mermier - Essay

G. Mermier

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[In Les cerfs-volants] Ambroise Fleury is a postman for the French PTT, an unusual postman who plays with kites, who gives them familiar or funny names…. [He] and his family carry the love of France in their hearts; as true patriots, they know its history by heart. With his kite games the postman enjoys a reputation almost equal to the cuisine of Marcellin Duprat, master cook and patron of the Clos Joli restaurant: this is France, its little eccentricities and its love of good food! Page after page, the novel's narrator Ludo tells us about the people of Clery….

But there is more, much more, in this admirable novel, so real with its vignettes of the war, of 1940, of the Resistance, but also so tender and so fervently human and poetic. For Romain Gary, the kites must seek the blue of heaven, no matter how many times they fall, but they need us, men, to keep them aloft…. Les cerfs-volants, no doubt a masterpiece of a novel, a masterpiece of fiction set in a contemporary historical frame-work, may well be Romain Gary's true last will. As such, the book deserves our admiration and respect.

G. Mermier, "French: 'Les cerfs-volants'," in World Literature Today (copyright 1981 by the University of Oklahoma Press), Vol. 55, No. 3, Summer, 1981, p. 433.