Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show: A Novel of Ireland

Venetia Kelly s Traveling Show A Novel of Ireland January 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 juggling tumbling and other entertainment

  • Title: Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show: A Novel of Ireland
  • Author: Frank Delaney
  • ISBN: 9780812979732
  • Page: 364
  • Format: Paperback
  • January 1932 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, 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 heJanuary 1932 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, 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.Interweaving 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 decade.

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    About " Frank Delaney "

  • Frank Delaney

    Frank Delaney was an author, a broadcaster on both television and radio, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, lecturer, and a judge of many literary prizes Delaney interviewed than 3,500 of the world s most important writers NPR called him The Most Eloquent Man in the World Delaney was born and raised in County Tipperary, Ireland, spent than twenty five years in England before moving to the United States in 2002 He lived in Litchfield County, Connecticut, with his wife, writer and marketer, Diane Meier.

  • 227 Comments

  • 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 [...]


  • Frank Delaney was well known in the UK before those of us in the United States had heard of him; NPR has called him “the most eloquent man in the world”, and after I had read Ireland, an epic novel that has to do with a storyteller and so much more, I was sold. I wasn’t blogging or reviewing back then, and after I had turned the last page, I told my family that I wanted to read everything else Delaney had written. Then I received this novel as a Christmas present, and was underwhelmed. I s [...]


  • 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 around [...]


  • 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 comman [...]


  • 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 [...]


  • I was privileged enough to listen to this book on audio, narrated by the author himself. His Irish lilt was a joy to listen to and of course his characters simply came alive. By far the best one for me was Ben's father - the author got the stutter just perfectly and I loved every line he spoke. Which probably makes you wonder why I only gave the book 3 stars. In fact, it should be 3.5 because it was a good book, but it just didn't really go anywhere. There was a lot of build up, and many digress [...]


  • 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.



  • 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 [...]


  • 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 [...]


  • 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 daughte [...]


  • 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 ac [...]


  • 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 [...]


  • 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 [...]


  • Complete review is here : fictionbookreview/2015Phew, it is indeed a long story and this is my first time reading Delaney's book. It is very touching despite of my failure understanding the author's sense of humor. It is one of the books which requires you to savor each word and sentence. Not for those of you who are looking for a quick read, but if you'd like to give it a try, it is worth your time.


  • 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.


  • I'm a linear person, I like a beginning a middle and an end. I don't care for wildly meandering, more tangent than plot kinds of stories. While I did appreciate Delany's humor I didn't care for the long meandering path he was taking in order to tell this story. I dislike short stories, this was like a collection of very short stories, I listened to 16 chapters and then gave up. I did love the author's voice though.


  • Through the first third of this book, I nearly set it aside several times. Because of my love of other books by Delaney, I kept going, and I'm glad I did. It's a beautiful story that includes coming of age during political upheaval, moving from sheltered naivete into worldly capability, and plenty of interesting characters, with a bit of a mystery. Recommended.


  • I love Frank Delaney. I have been a fan since meeting him at an Author event at Foothill College. I haven't read any of his stuff in a while, so I was very excited when this one came up on my Randomizer challenge for 2015. I love his character development and his amazing storytelling and the seamless weaving of historical events into the story. The effect is magical. Highly recommended!


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Especially with the so-called election of Donald Trump, I found this to be enlightening with regard to Ireland's politics in the 1930s, but I also think the story telling was exceptional and the story and cast of characters engaging. It is one of those books that I was sorry to see end.


  • Have you ever read/listened to a book and felt like you're doing it at the wrong time? I engaged with this story as an audio book and I remember thinking, "I might like this more in about 20 years." It's hard to explain, but I just felt like this author and I shouldn't have met yet.


  • Engaging and entertaining in ways very similar to the titular show, mixing light and dark moments, serious and bawdy stories, and politics and family saga into one meandering tale.


  • I did not enjoy this one as much as Ireland, but it kept my interest enough to continue with the second book of this series.


  • 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 p [...]


  • I chose this book, looking for a funny , light hearted tale of Ireland, which this is definitely not. A deadly serious story of "The Troubles" and how the politics affect one family, who would have enough problems without them. As both father and son fall in love with the same woman, an enchanting traveling actress, heartbreak is sure to follow, although not in the ways one might expect. I will admit to being confused by the inner turmoil in Ireland in the thirties, the fascist blue shirts who o [...]


  • Sunday, May 23, 2010Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show by Frank Delaney (Rated: C)Random HouseISBN 978-1-4000-6783-1Published 2010Hardcover 427 pagesThe 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 w [...]


  • 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 [...]


  • 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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