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Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show: A Novel of Ireland
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Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show: A Novel of Ireland

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3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  530 ratings  ·  141 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 ofIreland and Shannon.

January 1932: While Ireland roils in the run-up to the most important national election in the Republic’s short history
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Audio CD, 0 pages
Published February 23rd 2010 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2010)
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Jennifer
From my blog...[return]Imagine yourself settling in with your favourite beverage and listening to a longtime acquaintance recalling a pivotal tale from his past. Such is the manner Frank Delaney tells the story of Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show. The narrator tells the tale of an 18-year-old boy in the rather turbulent times in Ireland in 1932-33, yet the tale is not told straight from the 18-year-old, but rather from a much older man telling the tale of his youth. In a masterful way, Delaney com ...more
Alan
I love language. The story line in Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show is not too complex and not necessarily satisfying, but the language is exquisite. I had the pleasure of listening to Delaney read the book which added to the enjoyment. The book is basically about power and politics in 1932 in the new Irish state. The real pleasure in Delaney is the Digressions. The rambling patter of Irish speech is a treat to listen to. Do yourself a favor and read it out loud to yourself.
Kathleen Kelly
Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show is a beautifully written story about Irish families living in a very turbulent time in Ireland's history.The narrator, Ben MacCarthy is telling the story of what happens when his father deserts the family to follow this "traveling show" and the beautiful Venetia and her mother Sarah, who are the main actors. As Ben tells his story he often digresses, but this is a trait of the storytellers of Ireland, to stray off topic. At first the authors style of writing was ha ...more
Serena
Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show by Frank Delaney is a coming of age novel set during a tumultuous time in Ireland's history. Set in the early 1930s, Ireland and Britain were in the midst of an economic battle in which farmers refused to keep paying back the loans that enabled them to buy farmland. And Britain consequently began placing tariffs on all Irish goods -- all the while the political system in Ireland was tenuous.

"Of course it was all still being run by politicians. We have an old saying
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Nancy Oakes

My thanks to the Librarything Early Reviewer's Program, for selecting me to read this book. I would have bought it anyway had I not received it, because it's written by a very good author.

Frank Delaney has given readers yet another fine story, one which takes place among the tumultuous events of his native Ireland's 20th century history, and one which, after you've read it, you won't soon forget. This is, of course, one of the main themes that run constantly throughout Delaney's books. This time
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Myckyee
I was offered Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show to review I was quite excited and felt I was in for a treat.

I found the story to be refreshingly different. Set amid the politics of Ireland in the early twentieth century, the plot revolves around Ben McCarthy and his quest to bring his errant father back home to the family farm. This character, Ben, is imbued with warmth, humour and strength – much more strength than that shown by either of his parents. Other characters, King Kelly and his daughter
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Trisha
Frank Delaney is, true to his Irish heritage, a great story teller so it’s appropriate that the omniscient narrator of this novel makes it clear from the outset that he’s about to tell us one helluva good story. He’s also prone to digress (something he warns us about from the very beginning) and so during the course of this amazing tale that centers around events that took place in 1932 when Ireland’s political situation was far from stable we are constantly being pulled away from the action of ...more
Wendy
A young man on the cusp of adulthood has lead a relatively good life up until that point. His father is a well-respected farmer and seems happily married to his mother. Everything changes, however, when he attends a traveling show performance with his father one evening. His father refuses to return home, emphatic that he is joining the show. The elder MacCarthy is smitten with the show's lead act, Venetia Kelly, an interest that had begun two years before, unbeknownst to the son. Ben MacCarthy ...more
Kristen
This book had some good moments, but not enough of them to keep me reading to the end.

As with many Irish stories, there is sly, witty humour, and morbidly depressing drama in about equal propotions in this story of a young Irish man who's father decides on the spur of the moment to run off and follow the travelling show that comes to town. Without a second thought the man just leaves and goes with the show and the entrancing woman - the Venetia Kelly of the title - who he has completely fallen f
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C
Any book lover knows there are some books that find you at the right time in your life -- a book that couldn't have impacted you more at any other time. But there are also books that are the worst you could read at a particular moment in your life. Books affect readers differently depending on what is going on in the reader's life and what is happening in the book. 'Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show' was one of the worst books I could have read right now. I struggled with this one.

Wandering arou
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Jennifer
DON'T READ THIS BOOK.

You must LISTEN to it. The author reads it and is the best narration I have ever heard. He has a beautiful Irish accent and makes you feel like you are in the room. It is full of Irish lore, wit, superstition, stories and eccentric characters. It's set in the 1930s when Ireland was gaining independence. Politics was the main topic but it's about everyday Irish people. His descriptions of people are often hilarious. One man's eyebrows are compared to a caterpillar that farmer
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Rosa
Wow I loved this book. Don't be discouraged by the first 30 pages, it starts off slow. But once Frank Delaney gets you involved in the story, there is no turning back. I loved the main character, Ben. Delaney made him loveable and believable; a real hero. I thought Delaney's great ability with storytelling made this book all the more worthwhile to read. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a great story and who wants to learn more about acting, traveling shows, history, Ireland ...more
Pea.
the story starts off slow... it weaves in more and more threads.( at a point i worried that it might turn into some corny story with magical people... it did not.) it became a lovely fabric until the last few chapters. they were a disappointment, threadbare. i will not add any spoilers as to why i feel this way... it did not make reading the book a waste. i would highly recommend this for a bookclub choice do to the lengthy and interesting discussion options from the ending alone.
Siobhan
Frank Delaney is certainly the writer closest to bardic storytelling tradition. His books pull you in like a peat fire on the hearth of a cottage. Get Venetia Kelly as a gift to yourself in honor of St. Patricks Day.
Martin
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.
Psirene
Just get on with the story i screamed throughout the reading. Def had potential but never rose to it.
Beth
Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show is a unique book. It's a fictional autobiography that reads like a fireside story narrated by an old man. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the author himself, which felt more fitting to the style. However, even then it took until chapter 80 for me to become invested in it. This story is definitely not for the easily-bored!

This story is heartbreaking. It's also an excellent glimpse into 1930's Ireland, especially the political turmoil of Ireland's earliest d
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Toni Osborne
The story is set in 1932 Ireland, a time when tensions are high due to the upcoming elections and the endless rhetoric by those vying for power. Ben McCarthy narrates this story as a man in his 50's reflecting on events that took place when he was an 18 year old on the verge of manhood.

The first 100 pages take us back and forth between NYC and Ireland and between members of the Kelly and McCarthy families. Mr. Delaney carefully weaves a tapestry of characters that surround and are connected with
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Conrad
Frank Delaney has mastered the art of storytelling - no question about it. His intimate knowledge of Ireland and the ways and mannerisms of the Irish people (including those of bygone times) brings an authenticity to this tale of love found and love lost. I enjoyed his little digressions in the story (and he tells you they are digressions) - not unlike the way we might relate details to someone to explain an account of an event in a conversation. As he says, "We Irish do this digression stunt. W ...more
Gail Cooke

The voice. It's a most remarkable voice, magical, mesmerizing drawing one in. Through countless audiobooks never has a reader (in this case, of course, also the author) so captured me. I dislike cliches but this fellow could read a city census and there would be applause. Frank Delaney's voice is modulated, low, strong with merely a hint of the Irish. His words can tumble, spring forth to cast a spell or somberly intone. His narration is rich with understanding, and ripe with experience: I've be
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Todd


An intriguing work. It starts in an intriguing way, as if we are following the narrator as he makes a final shuffle of his notes. Characters are introduced in a seemingly haphazard way, but it also has a continuity that keeps the reader going. In these early chapters I wondered if this would be a book I would recommend to friends. I have finished and am still wondering. I am happy to have read it, but there were moments when I did not enjoy it. They were always brief and the story quickly righte
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Krista
Frank Delany’s latest book, Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show, once again delves into the Irish psyche at a critical juncture in Irish history. Ben McCarthy is the hero/narrator of this story which is set primarily in 1930’s Ireland. His life changes forever the day his father, a normally staid farmer, abandons the family and runs off to join Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show. It’s a tumultuous time in Ben’s life, and in Irish history. Delany mixes historical-fiction focused on the Irish political cli ...more
Victoria
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nely
Where to start on this one?! Well, I'll start with I loved this story.

Frank Delaney is a master storyteller. Ben McCarthy, narrator/hero extraordinaire, tells us a story of his youth in a very intimate setting - almost making you feel as if you are sitting down with him listening while he reminisces. Set in mostly 1930's Ireland, you learn how his life forever-changed the day his father abandoned their family to join Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show.

At first it took me a little bit to get into the
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Sandra Olshaski
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show by Frank Delaney (Rated: C)
Random House
ISBN 978-1-4000-6783-1
Published 2010
Hardcover 427 pages
The opening words of this novel captured my attention. As the novel progressed, however, I was disappointed because I expected a serious novel but seemed to be confronted with a comedy, for example: the writer’s references to “Tiny Digressions, Important Digressions, Relatively Important Digressions , and Unimportant Digressions”. Initially, I was put o
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Julie
I found that this book didn't live up to what I've read previously by the author. I wasn't pulled in like his previous novels have done for me and I found that magic just wasn't there either. It was still a good read, but it didn't have the same pull as I expected.

I did enjoy the narrative and writing style of the book, it wasn't as lyrical as I've read in the past, but it was one of my favourite parts of the book. I love how the author tells the story. I also really enjoyed the historical and
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Diane
In this coming of age, historical novel set in 1930s Ireland, Narrator Ben MacCarthy, now an elderly man, tells the story of Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show, and how it impacted his life and that of his father Harry, and mother, Louise. When the traveling show came into town, his family's life in the rural farmlands of Ireland were forever changed.

When Ben was just 18, his father took him to see a performance of the "traveling show" when it arrived in their town. When his father, Harry sees Venet
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Colleen
The book opens with the announcement of the birth of the title character Venetia Kelly, as told by the narrator, Ben McCarthy. It is clear from the first paragraph, if not from the novel's title, that Venetia Kelly will play a pivotal role in this story. It is almost as if she is ordained with mythical power even from birth. But rather than immediately dive into Venetia's story, Delaney carefully weaves a tapestry of characters which surround or are connected to Venetia in some way. At first, it ...more
Cheryl
The year was 1932.

Ben MacCarthy and his father were heading out to watch the circus that had come to town. It was called the Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show. Ben can remember sitting in the stands, watching the show…his father laughing really hard at the talking ventriloquist, Blarney. As the show was ending, Ben’s father turns to him and tells him that he won’t be returning home with him. He is going to stay on with the circus. Ben returns home alone. His mother tasks Ben with tracking down and
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Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
Another one where my review is in the minority!

I really struggled with this one. I made it well over half way through the book. I just couldn't finish it. I think that Frank Delaney is probably a terrific storyteller, and I love a great story. His prose is certainly lyrical and definitely Irish, which is normally something I enjoy reading. But, ultimately here, I didn't care for the characters. The set up for this story took too long and there were lots of characters to keep track of and way too
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Frank Delany 1 4 Sep 10, 2013 05:22AM  
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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
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