Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show: Book summary and reviews of Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show by Frank Delaney

Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show

A Novel

By Frank Delaney

Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2010,
    448 pages.

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Book Summary

January 1932: While Ireland roils in the run-up to the most important national election in the Republic’s short history, Ben MacCarthy and his father watch a vagabond variety revue making a stop in the Irish countryside. After a two-hour kaleidoscope of low comedy, Shakespearean recitations, juggling, tumbling, and other entertainments, Ben’s father, mesmerized by Venetia Kelly, the troupe’s magnetic headliner, makes a fateful decision: to abandon his family and set off on the road with Miss Kelly and her caravan. Ben’s mother, shattered by the desertion, exhorts, “Find him and bring him back,” thereby sending the boy on a Homeric voyage into manhood, a quest that traverses the churning currents of Ireland’s fractious society and splinters the MacCarthy family.

Interweaving historical figures including W. B. Yeats, and a host of unforgettable creations—“King” Kelly, Venetia’s violent, Mephistophelean grandfather; Sarah Kelly, Venetia’s mysterious, amoral mother; and even a truth-telling ventriloquist’s dummy named Blarney—Frank Delaney unfurls a splendid narrative that spans half the world and a tumultuous, eventful decade.

Teeming with intrigue, pathos, and humor, Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show explores two of Ireland’s great national passions: theater and politics. Writing with his signature mastery and lyrical prose, Frank Delaney once again delivers an unforgettable story as big and boisterous as the people and events it chronicles.
 

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Delaney is a master storyteller, and this expansive tale of politics, tragedy, and revenge is Irish storytelling at its best. Full of vibrant, well-crafted characters and satisfyingly high drama, it will appeal to fans of sweeping Irish sagas." - Library Journal

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Author Information

Frank Delaney Author Biography

Frank Delaney was born in Tipperary, Ireland. A career in broadcasting earned him fame across the United Kingdom. As well as being the author of more than 21 books, he has interviewed more than 3,000 writers for his BBC and international television and radio shows.

A judge for the Booker Prize, several of Delaney's nonfiction books were bestsellers in the UK, and he writes frequently for American and British publications. He is currently writing a series of novels exploring his native Ireland's history in the twentieth century, one decade at a time. He lives in Litchfield County, Connecticut, with his wife, Diane Meier.

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