By the early 1970s, Romain Gary had established himself as one of France's most popular and prolific novelists, journalists, and memoirists. Feeling that he had been typecast as 'Romain Gary', however, he wrote his next novel under the pseudonym Emile Ajar. His second novel written as "Ajar, Life Before Us", was an instant runaway success, winning the Prix Goncourt and becoming the best-selling French novel of the twentieth century. The Prix Goncourt made people all the keener to identify the real Emile Ajar, and stressed by the furore he had created, Gary fled to Geneva. There, Pseudo, a hoax confession and one of the most alarmingly effective mystifications in all literature, was written at high speed. Writing under double cover, Gary simulated schizophrenia and paranoid delusions while pretending to be Paul Pawlovitch confessing to being Emile Ajar - the author of books Gary himself had written.