Vilnius - home of the internationally acclaimed writer Romain Gary
Another tribute to Vilnius’ Jewish heritage can be found between J. Basanavičiaus and Mindaugo streets. This was where Romain Gary (born Roman Kacew, 1914–1980), a famous French writer, diplomat, film director and a pilot was born. There is a sculpture of him located on the corner here opposite the Russian Drama Theatre, of a boy holding a boot, with his head tilted back.
The statue depicts the scene from Gary’s book called Aušros pažadas /La Promesse de l’aube (English translation Promise at Dawn), written in 1960. The book is about the writer’s childhood years spent in Vilnius and his admiration for a girl called Valentina. Struggling to win her attention, Gary cut and ate his rubber boot – just to impress her.
Romain Gary was twice the winner of the Prix Goncourt, one of the most important French literary prizes. While you can only receive the Prix Goncourt once in your life, Gary had won it for the second time under the pseudonym of Émile Ajar, something he only confessed before his death.
The romance lives on in Vilnius - the Romain Gary statue is now a popular point for couples to meet when going on a date.
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