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Tipperary: A Novel of Ireland
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Tipperary: A Novel of Ireland

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  903 ratings  ·  181 reviews
“My wooing began in passion, was defined by violence and circumscribed by land; all these elements molded my soul.” So writes Charles O’Brien, the unforgettable hero of bestselling author Frank Delaney’s extraordinary new novel–a sweeping epic of obsession, profound devotion, and compelling history involving a turbulent era that would shape modern Ireland.

Born into a respe
Paperback, 464 pages
Published June 3rd 2008 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2007)
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An author's second novel seldom lives up to the first. Mr. Delaney, though, has served up another gem. In the author's note to his first novel, Ireland, Mr. Delaney points out “Beneath all the histories of Ireland...there has always been another, less obvious, reporter speaking – the oral tradition, Ireland's vernacular narrative, telling the country's tale to her people in stories handed down since God was a boy”.
Wikipedia lists ten castles in County Tipperary, but Tipperary Castle is either
I usually devour books but for some reason this took me almost a month to read. I just didn't feel as engaged in the book so I let days pass without reading it. I loved Delaney's previous book, Ireland. My favorite part of Ireland was Delaney's love of storytelling, Irish culture, and Irish history shone through his beautifully-written book.

Tipperary shows his love of Irish culture/history as well, but the storytelling piece suffered a bit. He also recycled almost all of the elements in Ireland:
I really enjoy reading Frank Delaney's books on Ireland. Tipperary is my favorite (although I haven't read all of his titles..who knows?) The novel takes place in the early 20th century which I found interesting. He combines Irish folk tales, famous Irishmen, history and a good story. The author narrated the book-on-cd. At times it was hard to figure out who the character was because Frank's voice doesn't change enough to delineate a different person. I did figure it out based on the subject mat ...more
Sep 14, 2011 Kelsey rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Irish history
Tipperary reads like a textbook with a human interest story thrown in for good measure. This makes sense when you find out that the author is a retired BBC broadcaster. If you are interested in the Irish revolution, this novel is a terrific way to find out more. But I don't recommend this book for anyone looking for an "escape" or "for fun" read.

On a personal level, the characters frustrated me (especially Charles and his inaction/immaturity). The storyline tends to drag, too, probably because
Brendan Lyons
Frank Delaney is a shanachie, following on in the tradition of the old storytellers of Ireland. This would seem to be the art he employs, but behind the apparent simplicity and anecdotal nature of the tales he tells lies a very sharply-honed novelist's mind. There is a design behind the loosely linked series of stories through which the principal narrator, Charles O'Brien, sets out his own life story from the 1860s through to the early 20th century. Charles acts as a witness to the way in which ...more
I generally enjoy historical fiction, especially when written about a time and/or place that I know little about. Novels such as "I, Claudius" or "Arthur and George" do a wonderful job of illuminating Ancient Rome or nineteenth century London, respectively. With this novel, however, I didn't feel enlightened so much as lectured to, and ultimately confused. I was never able to get a good sense of the characters, and what they felt and saw. Instead, it just seemed to me that the author simply list ...more
Lynn Bornath
The beginning of the book was a bit boring and the present-day narrator felt intrusive. I didn't care much for Charles either. He came across as a bit pathetic, chasing after a mostly unlikeable woman who wasn't the least bit interested in him. However, about a quarter of the way into the book, things began to improve. The history became more interesting, more was revealed about the present-day narrator, and Charles developed a backbone (and a personality). By the time I reached the end, I'd lea ...more
I listened to this book on CD and really enjoyed the reading by the author. Who doesn't like listening to a Irish voice. The prose were poetic. He has a gift for telling stories. The Irish history was interesting as it was interwoven with the characters in the story. It was nice to be reminded of the depth of a book and the beauty of words placed together after reading so much by way of an easy read in the YA fiction category.
Eco Erin
It took a while for the book to really get going with the main character story line. The beginning is more about setting the stage of history in Ireland during the land reformation and declaring independence from Britain. I really loved that about the book. The Irish history was fascinating and the way the author details it was very intriguing. I know little about Irish history, it wasn't touched on in any history class that I remember and what I do know of it mostly comes from documentaries or ...more
Tipperary tells the life of Charles O'Brien, an Irishman, traveling healer, proponent of Irish independence and man of some passion. His story is told by the 21st-century narrator who finds some of Charles’ personal effects in an old trunk donated to a library and, curious, begins to research his life.

From with his childhood on an Irish farm and apprenticeship to a local herbalist, we follow Charles to France where he attends Oscar Wilde at his sickbed and also falls in love, and back to Ireland
First a warning - the first 50 or so pages of this book are incredibly boring. I almost put the book down multiple times and only kept reading because I so thoroughly enjoyed Delaney's earlier book, Ireland. After 50 or so pages the story quickly gets better.

This is a narrative of a man's life from about 1860 - 1930 with a particular focus on his obsession for a woman 20 years younger than him. That alone would probably be unbearable, except that there is a second narrator: a history teacher who
This author loves his country and its history and if you want a decent, though sometimes broad overview of Irish history, then his novels are a good start. I didn't like this book as much as I liked the previous book I read by Delaney, but I did enjoy the story once it finally turned into one, which was pretty far into the book. I listened to the book, which can be a little confusing at first. There are to start, two narrators. One is in the first person of the main character and another starts ...more
"Tipperary" is a book that starts off slowly, and keeps up that pace. Nevertheless, it weaves a tale that will keep you reading, with threads of a fictional long unrequited love woven through the larger pattern of Ireland's turbulent history: the centuries-long struggle of the native Irish with their Anglo-Irish overlords, and the long, hard quest for Home Rule.

Charles O'Brien, brilliant as a 19th Century healer, but almost childishly naive as a man, relates his story, which centers mainly upon
From Publishers Weekly

Seventy-five years after the death of Charles O'Brien, an Anglo-Irish itinerant healer and occasional journalist born in 1860, his memoir is discovered in a trunk. The result is this touching novel from Ireland author Delaney, in which the manuscript's putative discoverer adds his own unreliable commentary to the fictive Charles's probably embellished perceptions—making for a glowing composite of a volatile Ireland. Charles claims to treat Oscar Wilde on his deathbed; adv

Nancy Oakes
The book is engaging. The historical events captured my interest most of all, and I was pleased to see how the author incorporated these into his novel. Bringing these events to life was, imho, the highlight of this novel.

I wasn't thrown off by the alternating narration at all. I enjoy the metafictional approach in novels. However, as good as Delaney's writing is here, I thought he made the character of Charles O'Brien a bit too Forrest Gumpish, always stumbling into defining historical moments
Juliet Doubledee
I had a hard time getting into this book for the first 100+ pages as the author spent a lot of time setting the over-tone and establishing the main ch...moreI had a hard time getting into this book for the first 100+ pages as the author spent a lot of time setting the over-tone and establishing the main characters. In fact, I set the book down several times to read/finish other books before returning to it. Glad I didn't give up though, as it is the type book that builds as you get further in. ...more
This is a fascinating book that ended up grabbing me after my initial assumptions that I wasn’t going to like it very much.

Delaney uses a very specific convention to tell the story, splitting the narration between two main protagonists: the memoirs of an Irish man named Charles O’Brien, written at the turn of the 20th century, and the commentaries and reflections on said memoirs by a historian that discovered them. Through the research of the latter narrator, we also get perspectives through the
Di Richardson
This book took me forever to read - not because it wasn't beautifully written or interesting, but because it is not the book I thought it was when I bought it. I bought this book because I sawa sign that said "Frank Delaney's follow up novel to Ireland." I LOVE the book Ireland, and without looking at the fly leave, I assumed that reference meant this was a sequel. Looking back, I shouldn't have made that assumption, as it is a follow up in the sense - it is his next book. I have to say Mr. Dela ...more
Charles O'Brien is nine years old when he witnesses a neighboring Irish family being evicted from their home and the house being pulled down as mother, father and three young children run toward the safety of the forest with only the clothes on their backs. The evicted family and their ancestors had worked the surrounding fields for hundreds of years, and the father had lost a leg while a soldier in the King's army, but none of that mattered to the ruling English. What Charles saw that day haunt ...more
In this well-written and engaging novel, we follow the life story of on Charles O'Brien, born 1860 in Ireland, as he writes his "History" of his life and times. The History is interspersed with comments from the "historian" putting together the History with letters, documents, and journal entries from O'Brien's family and friends to get a good view of who this man was in relation to his times. The main action for O'Brien is the dismissal of him as a suitor by the woman he's deemd his true love. ...more
Setting: Ireland, 1860-present


The book is now complete, and now a mini-review before the main review. The book is about a man named Charlie O’Brien, who, at the advanced age of 40, meets and falls in love with a woman named April Burke (who is around 19-23, probably closer to 23). The woman fears the man and finds him disturbing. The man is not put off and continues to seek her. Many years pass. Eventually the woman allows the man to help her in several important tasks. All told agai
I just started this book and I like it. It's historical fiction, set in Ireland between 1860 and the early part of the 20th century. I read Ireland, also by this author and LOVED it, so I am hoping this one is as good.

Addendum: I finished this book this afternoon and I enjoyed it, but didn't love it the way I loved Ireland. One of the things that I found the most valuable about the book was the history of the uprising of the native Irish people against the British. I realize how little I knew a
B. Morrison
I found this novel set in Ireland hard to to get into. The story follows Charles O'Brien, born in 1860, and his quest to win the love of a much-younger April Burke. Along the way, we learn about the history of Ireland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The first half of the book is rather dry, and bumbling Charles and cold April are not particularly interesting characters.

Two other features make the book hard to take. One is that it alternates between two first-person narrators: Charles
"The most eloquent man in the world"? It's entirely possible.

This hyper-literate narrative inside a narrative inside a narrative unfolds as a simple tale at first, then becomes more complex as this deft tale-spinner pulls the scope out one notch at a time.

In addition, we are provided with a passionate re-telling of the atrocities visited on the Irish by the Anglo and Irish-Anglo ruling class. Delaney puts such genuine feeling into the narrative of the republican movement as it progressed in the
Jen Nielsen
Sep 17, 2008 Jen Nielsen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jen by: Book Group
Shelves: book-group
I had a hard time rating this book. Probably somewhere between a 3 and a 4. I loved the history of Ireland that was interwoven into this fictional story. However, I had a hard time keeping up with who was narrating. I kept missing the little knots when they were at the bottom of the page indicating that the narrator had changed. Way too often I found myself rereading the first part of a paragraph because I realized something wasn't quite right with who I thought was narrating. It was frustrating ...more
I love historical fiction and love books about Ireland, so I was pretty excited about this. Unfortunately, the excitement didn't last. Not only did I want to slap the two main characters (a very immature 44 year old man who falls head-over-heels for an 18 year old ice princess), but the structure is annoying - continuous back and forth between first-person recollections of the main character and third-person narrative by the person who supposedly discovered the journals of this guy. It is a way ...more
LK Hunsaker

As a huge fan of Delaney's Ireland, I had to keep going and read Tipperary. I love historical fiction that goes well beyond general facts of a time and place and gives me better insight and further knowledge. Tipperary does just that. It's an amazing story of a man and his homeland, the struggles of his nation as well of his personal life, that highlights historical people and events and pushes underneath to shed light on Ireland's underbelly. I also enjoyed the unique style of the novel, the sh
Ugh. I love a good historical fiction book. This was NOT a good HF book. Although most HF books have too many characters, this one goes a step further by having different characters tell the story in first person. There is no indication when the narrator changes except a small separation on the page, so it gets really confusing. If this gimmick added anything to the book, I wouldn't have minded as much, but since each character's voice essentially sounds the same, and they often end up just repe ...more
I finally finished this one. I had stopped about 60 pages in thinking that is was a little more dull, and quite a bit slower than Ireland: A Novel (which I loved), but that judgement would have been passed too quickly. Unfortunately, because of that initial reaction, I didn't read much of it for awhile. I didn't fall for this one as hard as I did with Ireland, but once I really got into the story, I enjoyed it. The one failing that I can see with it is that the points of view bounce between the ...more
This book was the best of books at times and not so hot at others. Perhaps it was because I listened to the audio version instead of reading it, but it was hard to tell if it was the narrator or one of the main characters at times. The story seemed to jump back and forth between them rather painfully. I understand what the author was doing, interweaving the two plot lines to end up as one, but at best it was difficult to follow.

The story of Charles and his family was delightful, dangerous and e
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'The Most Eloquent Man in the World', says NPR, about the writer, broadcaster, BBC host and Booker Prize Judge, Frank Delaney. Over a career that has lasted more than three decades, Delaney, an international-best-selling author himself, has interviewed more than 3,500 of the world's most important writers.

Frank Delaney has earned top prizes and best-seller status in a wide variety of formats, from
More about Frank Delaney...
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“We Irish prefer embroideries to plain cloth. To us Irish, memory is a canvas--stretched, primed, and ready for painting on. We love the "story" part of the word "history," and we love it trimmed out with color and drama, ribbons and bows. Listen to our tunes, observe a Celtic scroll: we always decorate our essence.” 20 likes
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