In the mid-nineteen-seventies, Romain Gary received France’s most illustrious literary award – the Prix Goncourt – for La Vie devant soi [The Life Before Us]. This prize can be awarded only once to any given author, yet Gary had already received it in 1956, for Les Racines du ciel [The Roots of Heaven]. However, many critics in France had viewed his first Goncourt – and any subsequent novel that he published after that – with a certain amount of derision, due partly to their commercial success. In 1974, trying to escape from the context in which critics had pegged him, Gary embarked on the task of renewing himself in order to have his novels judged on …
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Tirven-Gadum, Vina. "Romain Gary". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 February 2011
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