"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.
Frank's latest article for Public Domain is about the marvelous artist, Eric Ravilious. Better known in the UK than on this side of the pond, some may recognize his designs for mid-century Wedgwood. But Public Domain and Frank have chosen some wonderful examples of Ravilious' fine art work, and we trust you'll enjoy the introduction. Here is the link.
By the way, if you haven't subscribed to Public Domain Review, consider doing so.They're a treasure.
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.