Retour à Killybegs
- 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.
- Return to Killybegs is a novel about a traitor to Belfast’s Catholic community
- during the war in 1970s and 1980s in Northern Ireland.
- The narrative is inspired by the 2006 murder of Denis Donaldson.
- He was a senior Sinn Féin member who was revealed as a British secret agent.
- Chalandon had befriended Donaldson while working as a journalist in Belfast.
- Chalandon attempts to understand the reasons for
- Donaldson’s (character: Tyrone Meehan) betrayal of the IRA.
- Perhaps Chalandon wanted to give his friend a chance to explain his side of the story.
- 24 December 2006 – 04 April 2007 (narrator is now 81 years old)
- ” I have often returned to my father’s house
- …but I came here four days ago…..to die.”
Best chapters – 18, 21, 22, 23 (suspense)
- The writing is remarkable, compact and to the point.
- Chalandon manages a journalistic style
- yet breathes life into characters that leave the reader riveted.
- Suspense builds while Chalandon alternates the past with the present.
- Past: childhood, WWII, entrance into IRA, prison sentences and contre-espionage
- Present: visit 2006 in Belfast for a wedding and confrontation with ex-IRA members
- Despite the cease-fire, peace talks and destroyed arms caches…
- …the IRA is still there.
- Great #SummerRead