"She sprang from the womb and waved to the crowd. Then she smiled and took a bow." And so we first meet Venetia Kelly, the beguiling actress at the center of this new, spellbinding, and epic novel by Frank Delaney, the bestselling author of Ireland and Shannon.
January 1932: While Ireland roils in the run-up to the most important national election in the Republics 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, Bens 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 creationsKing Kelly, Venetia's violent, Mephistophelean grandfather; Sarah Kelly, Venetia's mysterious, amoral mother; and even a truth-telling ventriloquist's dummy named BlarneyFrank 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.
The newspaper The Columbia Missourian" covered the "Story of Your Life" twitter challenge, featuring Steven Wise, winner of the twallenge, as Frank calls it. Wise shares some interesting insights on taking part in the challenge, saying that even though it appeared impossible to him to sum up a life of experiences in a couple sentences or even a book, "it was an exercise and it grabbed me, and I wanted to give it a go." Read more and see the winning tweet here..
Starred Review from Publisher's Weekly
"The riveting final installment of Delaney's Ben McCarthy trilogy. Long-time fans will relish its conclusion, while new readers will quickly warm to Delaney's vividly described Ireland of the 1950s, its fully-realized inhabitants, and the dynamic political and personal relationships that make for a remarkable story. (Feb.)"
One of Frank Delaney's most endearing new projects, a series of short stories produced as e-books called, "Storytellers," began as a means of introducing his novel "The Last Storyteller," in which the character of an itinerant Irish Seanchai is central to the plot.