Albertine Book Club reads “The Life Before Us” by Romain Gary

In February, the Albertine book club will read The Life Before Us by Romain Gary, translated by Ralph Manheim, and published by New Directions.

Momo has been one of the ever-changing ragbag of whores’ children at Madame Rosa’s boarding house in Paris ever since he can remember. But when the check that pays for his keep no longer arrives and as Madame Rosa becomes too ill to climb the stairs of their apartment, he is determined to support her any way he can. This sensitive, slightly macabre love story between Momo and Madame Rosa has a supporting cast of transvestites, pimps, and witch doctors from Paris’ immigrant slum, Belleville. Profoundly moving, The Life Before Us  won France’s premier literary prize, the Prix Goncourt.