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Extended Audio Sample Venetia Kellys Traveling Show: A Novel of Ireland Audiobook, by Frank Delaney Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (366 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Frank Delaney Narrator: Frank Delaney Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2010 ISBN: 9780307714572
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“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 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 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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Quotes & Awards

  • Weaving Irish vaudeville and politics of the 1930s into a mix both delightful and astonishing, Frank Delaney devises an engaging saga that will captivate listeners. … The account is magically intimate and emotionally real. Delight in Delaney's feast of hilarious, improbable details; side-story digression taken to a new art form; and memorable characters. AudioFile Magazine
  • "Delaney pulls out all the stops as he tips his hat to two great and all but indistinguishable Irish traditions:
    the theater and politics. Readers will be enchanted as the author spins a tale so glib, so charming, and so
    amusing that—begorrah—you can almost imagine him slyly winking as he kisses the Blarney Stone. Set in
    Ireland in the politically tumultuous 1930s, this rollicking tale, chockfull of Irish wit, superstition, and
    sentiment, features a larger-than-life cast of suitably eccentric characters. When 18-year-old Ben
    McCarthy, is dispatched by his mother to fetch home his wayward father, he embarks on an odyssey so
    wonderfully strange, all-encompassing, and ultimately tragic that it will effectually define his entire life.
    After Papa McCarthy, a staid and gentlemanly soul, does something as wildly out of character as fall for a
    beautiful and charming young actress, Ben, too, is irresistibly drawn into the giddy orbit of Venetia Kelly
    and her Traveling Show. Ben’s bittersweet story plays out against a backdrop of political corruption,
    personal greed, and high unexpected romance. Expect high demand for this ideal book club selection. Margaret Flanagan

  • "Set against the backdrop of the political and social turmoil of 1932 Ireland, Delaney's latest novel opens with young Ben McCarthy's father abandoning the farm to join a traveling theater troupe. Devastated, Ben's mother sends him off to bring his father home. He finds the troupe and falls in love with the same young actress who seduced his father. Venetia is a stunning young woman, the child of a famous actress and a villainous political opportunist named King Kelly. Furious that his daughter's affairs with common farm folk might tarnish his political aspirations, Kelly plots revenge against the McCarthys. In the manner of Greek tragedy, he steals their farm, has them set upon by political mobsters, destroys the troupe, and robs himself of the love of his life. VERDICT Delaney (Shannon ) 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

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 2/10/2014

    " It was interesting.It got better toward the end.Nothing compares to "Ireland;A Novel" "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tricia | 2/8/2014

    " Not my favorite of his books, but I still liked it very much. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kate | 1/17/2014

    " one of the rare books that I had to walk away from. The style of writing was very difficult to access. I was disappointed because I've loved Frank Delaney in interviews- maybe I'll try the audiobook- it may work better if read to me... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristine | 1/11/2014

    " What a sad -- haunting -- beautiful story. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Yvonne | 1/7/2014

    " Good book, but some flaws in the moral fiber of the story, disappointing ending. Good writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bethany | 1/5/2014

    " One of the only books I've ever read that makes me grin like an idiot when I see it on the shelf at the library. Love, love, love this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martin | 12/11/2013

    " I can honestly say that this is one of the great books I will read this year, and certainly may favorite of Frank Delaney's books. Highly recommended not only as a historical novel, but as a book about growing up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherilyn | 11/28/2013

    " Frank Delaney has a wonderful ability to capture time and place. This book is fun, imaginative and gives the feel of Ireland in the early 20th century. Very Good but not as great as his book Ireland. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jessica Oban | 6/10/2013

    " Yes, sadly, I abandoned this book. It just felt like there was no plot line 100 pages in, like it was just mildly interesting antidotes. I wanted to like it and finish, but I just didn't care. I feel bad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ticklish Owl | 11/11/2012

    " Listening to the audiobook was like having a favorite uncle tell a story. Frank Delaney is a natural story teller and a wonderful narrator. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ken | 9/13/2012

    " A great read. Irish storytelling at its best. Delaney has a fine, and completely accessible prose style. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue | 8/24/2012

    " Frank Delaney is quite the storyteller! I had a hard time getting interested in the novel, but I am glad I stuck with it. I learned a lot about Irish history and about halfway through found myself hooked by the plot as well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rozanne | 6/27/2012

    " A little slow at first, but Delaney is a wonderful writer and craftsman. The book's a novel, but I found myself time and again having to remind myself that it was fiction. The characters and plot were just so well done. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela Joyce | 3/27/2012

    " This is so creative and eloquent. It's particularly good for Americans with an interest in Ireland, as so many things are carefully explained (historical figures and events, pronunciation of certain words, etc.). You learn as you're being entertained! The characters are vivid and compelling as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 2/6/2012

    " A wonderful story told in a creative way regarding the Irish and love lost. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patty | 12/3/2011

    " A little slow starting, the tale, once it unravels is mesmerizing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Kay | 9/29/2011

    " This was a fun read! I won this book thru this site and received it w/in 3 days . It has it all: mystery, romance, history, folklore and great charactor development. I highly recommend to all. I will be checking out more from this author! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bethany | 4/27/2011

    " One of the only books I've ever read that makes me grin like an idiot when I see it on the shelf at the library. Love, love, love this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Psirene | 3/21/2011

    " Just get on with the story i screamed throughout the reading. Def had potential but never rose to it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 3/19/2011

    " Enjoyed it. Looking forward to the next one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren | 11/15/2010

    " A good story but a long winded telling. Could have been 50 pages shorter & I would have given it another star. Also annoyed with the ambiguity of the ending, dead? Alive? V's character isn't fleshed out enough to understand it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hilary | 11/3/2010

    " As I was reading this book, I kept on getting the feeling that it was going to get much more exciting, and it never quite did. Maybe I just wasn't into the author's style. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 10/5/2010

    " A wonderful story told in a creative way regarding the Irish and love lost. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kate | 9/17/2010

    " one of the rare books that I had to walk away from. The style of writing was very difficult to access. I was disappointed because I've loved Frank Delaney in interviews- maybe I'll try the audiobook- it may work better if read to me... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barbara | 9/13/2010

    " I finished the book. I found it somewhat interesting historically, but the story only kept me moderately captivated. I am taking the other book I have of his back to the library. I'm don't even want to start it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathy | 8/31/2010

    " I loved, LOVED this one!! The story was so good; funny, sad, informative with great characters. I couldn't put it down .. you gotta read this one! "

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About the Author
Author Frank Delaney

Frank Delaney is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Ireland, as well as The Matchmaker of KenmareVenetia Kelly’s Traveling Show, Tipperary, Shannon, and Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea. A former judge for the Man Booker Prize, he enjoyed a prominent career in BBC broadcasting before becoming a full-time writer. NPR has called him the “most eloquent man in the world.” Born in Tipperary, Ireland, he now lives in New York City and Connecticut.