Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show: A Novel

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Random House, 2010 - Fiction - 427 pages
20 Reviews
“She sprang from the womb and waved to the crowd. Then 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 IrelandandShannon.

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 Showexplores 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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hardlyhardy - LibraryThing

In literature, foreshadowing means to give an indication early in a story about things that will happen latter on. I usually react negatively when an author hints at how the story will turn out. I'd ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nnjmom - LibraryThing

Venetia Kelly may be the title character of Frank Delaney’s latest novel of historical Ireland, but the book is very much the story of Ben McCarthy, a coming-of-age story about a young man sent on a ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Frank Delaney is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Ireland, as well as Tipperary, Shannon, and Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea. A former judge for the Man Booker Prize, Delaney enjoyed a prominent career in BBC broadcasting before becoming a full-time writer. Born in Tipperary, Ireland, he now lives in New York City and Connecticut.

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