Published in France in 1980, The Kites is a beautifully written novel about the triumph of joy over darkness. Set in Normandy before and during WW II, The Kites is narrated by a young orphan Ludo Fleury, who is madly in love with Lila de Bronicki, a charming and self-absorbed Polish aristocrat. Despite the looming war, Ludo remains obstinately in love with Lila, and becomes involved in the Resistance. Ludo's uncle and guardian, the colourful Ambroise Fleury, a passionate amateur kite-maker, is deported to Auschwitz, while Ambroise's best friend, Marcellin Duprat, one of France's greatest chefs, battles the Occupation with an unrelenting love of haute cuisine, and Julie Espinoza, a Parisian madame refashions herself as a collaborationist countess, running a Resistance network under the noses of the Nazis. Written by one of the greatest and best-loved French authors, The Kites is both a ripping good story and a sobering reflection on the tragic human tendency to search for an enemy. It's funny and heartbreaking, dark and optimistic, tender and unsparing.
Miranda Richmond Mouillot was born in the USA but now lives in France. Her first book, A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War and Ruined House in France, is also published by Text.