Romain Gary

Romain Gary was a French novelist, diplomat, film director, and World War II aviator of Jewish origin. He is the only author to have won the Prix Goncourt, a prestigious French literary award, under two different names. He wrote under his birth name Romain Gary and also under the pseudonym Émile Ajar. His most famous works include 'The Roots of Heaven' (Les racines du ciel) and 'Promise at Dawn' (La promesse de l'aube). He led a multifaceted life, marked by his commitment to literature, his experience as a fighter pilot, and his diplomatic career.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Promise at Dawn

    "Promise at Dawn" is a semi-autobiographical novel that explores the life of a young man growing up in Eastern Europe, and later in France, under the shadow of his ambitious and eccentric mother. The protagonist's journey takes him through various phases of his life from his childhood, through his experiences as a pilot in World War II, to his adult life as a diplomat and a writer. The story is a tribute to the protagonist's mother, who instilled in him the values of courage, resilience, and the pursuit of grandeur, even in the face of adversity.

    The 1239th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Life Before Us

    The novel is a poignant exploration of the bond between a young Arab boy, Momo, and an elderly Jewish woman, Madame Rosa, who is a Holocaust survivor and former prostitute. Living in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris, Madame Rosa takes care of the children of other prostitutes, and Momo becomes her protégé and closest companion. Through their relationship, the story delves into themes of love, loss, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. The narrative, told from Momo's perspective, captures the struggles and the multicultural tapestry of life in a Parisian slum, while also addressing the weight of history and the complexity of identity and belonging.

    The 2204th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. The Roots of Heaven

    The novel is set in post-World War II French Equatorial Africa and follows Morel, a French environmental activist who is fighting to protect elephants from extinction. Morel's crusade against elephant poaching not only draws the attention of other Europeans living in Africa, but also inspires a range of African characters to join his cause. The narrative explores themes of freedom, nature, and the struggle against colonialism and commercial exploitation.

    The 2443rd Greatest Book of All Time