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August 31, 2017


Retour à Killybegs

by N@ncy

  • Author: S. Chaladon
  • Title: Return to  Killybegs
  • Published: 2011
  • Language: French but also translated in English
  • Trivia: Awarded the Grand prix du roman de l’Académie française 2011.
  • Le Grand Prix du Roman is a French literary award, created in 1918
  • It is given each year by the Académie française and
  • is one of the oldest and most prestigious literary awards in France.
  • #20BooksOfSummer2107



  1. Return to Killybegs is a novel about a traitor to Belfast’s Catholic community
  2. during the war in  1970s and 1980s in Northern Ireland.
  3. The narrative is inspired by the 2006 murder of Denis Donaldson.
  4. He was a senior Sinn Féin member who was revealed as a British secret agent.
  5. Chalandon had befriended Donaldson while working as a journalist in Belfast.
  6. Chalandon  attempts to understand the reasons for
  7. Donaldson’s (character: Tyrone Meehan) betrayal of  the IRA.
  8. Perhaps Chalandon wanted to give his friend a chance to explain his side of the story.



  1. 24 December 2006 – 04 April 2007  (narrator is now 81 years old)
  2. ” I have often returned to my father’s house
  3. …but I came here four days ago… die.”


Best chapters – 18, 21, 22, 23   (suspense)



  1. The writing is remarkable, compact and to the point.
  2. Chalandon manages a journalistic style
  3. yet breathes life into characters that leave the reader riveted.
  4. Suspense builds while Chalandon alternates the past with the present.
  5. Past: childhood, WWII, entrance into IRA,  prison sentences and contre-espionage
  6. Present: visit 2006 in Belfast for a wedding and confrontation with ex-IRA  members
  7. Despite the cease-fire, peace talks and destroyed arms caches…
  8. …the IRA is still there.
  9. Great #SummerRead


Read more from Uncategorized
7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sep 1 2017

    New one on me. Read several thrillers plotted along similar lines but this sounds something entirely different. Am assuming it’s available in English so will add this to the list to look out for!!


  2. Sep 4 2017

    This does sound very good. I will be looking for it too.


    • Sep 5 2017

      Chalandon makes it so interesting because he uses his journalistic writing qualities….
      it’s like reading a newspaper article!



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  1. #20BooksOfSummer | NancyElin
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