Le Retour de Jim Lamar

The Return of Jim Lamar
Le Retour de Jim Lamar

Lionel Salaün

When, after the war in Vietnam and thirteen years of silence, Jim Lamar decides to go back to the little patch of Missouri where he was born, his parents have died of grief and the family farm has been ransacked. Everyone in the town is hostile to this neighbour they don’t recognise anymore. Everyone except Billy Brentwood, the narrator. Billy is thirteen. Until then, the sum of his universe had consisted of a family sparing in their emotions, a school he didn’t much like, and in fishing outings on the Mississippi – a passion he shares with Jim who is to make him his confidant. Over the course of the novel, the war vet confides stories of death and destruction, but of brotherhood too. He recounts how he crisscrossed the country to fulfill the promise he’d made to three of his army buddies to visit their families when the war was over. And how this journey turned him into a different man.

Lionel Salaün lives in Chambéry where he was born in 1959. In order to devote his time to writing, he worked a string of jobs, from warehouseman or aquariummaker to sardine fisher in Sète, and even photographer. A devotee of the blues and of American cinema, and fascinated by geography, he has chosen to set his first novel on the banks of the Mississippi.

This first novel won many awards in France, including the Télégramme’s readers’ prize and the SGDL’s Thyde Monnier Prize.

  • Published on janvier 5th, 2012
  • 240 pages


“This novel of initiation celebrates brotherhood, a theme at which Lionel Salaün excels, in a narrative style as gentle and turbulent as the Mississippi.” Télérama
“The Return of Jim Lamar is a mature and serious first novel which shows fine originality.” Livres Hebdo
“A very fine novel of initiation. Incisive and masterly writing. A flowing narrative free of all sentimentality.” Le Figaro Magazine