Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show

A Novel of Ireland
Narrated by: Frank Delaney
Length: 13 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (120 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"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 best-selling author of Ireland and Shannon.

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.

©2010 Frank Delaney (P)2010 Random House

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What a joy!

Once again, Frank Delaney has demonstrated that time travel IS possible. Delaney's reading of his own work transports the listener to Ireland at one of the most turbulent times in its resent past. Delaney is, without a doubt, the premier storyteller of our time, or should I say, Seanachai? Love this guy!

4 people found this helpful

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A beautiful and poignant tale

This is the fourth book I've read by Frank Delaney. I was smitten by "Ireland" and knew I had to have this new novel and it does not disappoint. What a consummate story teller! How adroitly he weaves into his stories the lore and politics of Ireland, of which he is eminently knowledgeable. He manages to make the twists and turns of the plot believable and the characters are so colorful. He does his own reading and it is superb, with his inimitable Irish accent, yet bringing to life German characters like the adorable housekeeper, Mrs. Haas. The ending is indeed bittersweet, yet somehow he manages to make us accept it, and brings the novel to a close so gently. I'm left wanting to savor it for days before I start another book.

3 people found this helpful

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one of my fav's

love his stories, love his voice, meter and delivery. he makes me wish i could live 12 lives in Ireland in 12 different eras

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My absolute Favorite Author and Narrator

My Fourth Book if Mr. Delaney’s and will seek out my next by him. Truly Wonderful!

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I have found a new favorite author!

And now I intend to read everything I can find by Frank Delaney. This book was captivating.

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Another fantastic story by Frank Delaney

Once again, weaving through the Irish countryside, I walked through another world created by Frank Delaney, one of my favorite authors & storytellers ... I loved every minute of it. The characters developing through his magical words gave life to my commute and stretched my imagination along with my heart and my understanding of human nature and pain and forgiveness and compassion and love. Thank you, Frank & Audible!

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a glimpse to the past

frank delaney is a gift that keeps on giving intellectually and aurally.
i lost my self in this one.

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Remarkable story well told

Frank Delaney is a master storyteller. Each of his books is well worth reading. This one is no exception. I look forward to reading the second book in the series

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Story of the Irish writ large and small

What did you love best about Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show?

Delaney wonderfully weaves together the spirit and complexities of personal loves and relationships with the national story of the emerging Irish nation.

What does Frank Delaney bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Frank Delaney is a great reader who brings the rhythms of the language to life. I read the book and listened to it and each experience complemented the other.