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review 2016-10-21 02:17
The Druid (Storytellers Book 1) - Frank Delaney
The Druid - Frank Delaney
I'm reaching into the vault for this week's book. I read the first couple of Storytellers short stories by Frank Delaney when they first came out, a few years ago, and recently realized that I'd lost track of the rest of the series. Which is too bad, for Delaney spins a fine yarn.
For those on this side of the pond, Delaney was a writer and broadcaster in Ireland and the UK for more than thirty years. He's somewhat of an expert on James Joyce, and he has been a judge for the Booker Prize. I read his novel Ireland years ago and was charmed by it -- and not only because he named one of his characters Mrs. Cantwell.
The Storytellers series was, I think, conceived as a promotional vehicle for his most recent novel, The Last Storyteller (which I have not read). The short stories and the novel came out at about the same time, and the first chapter of the novel is included with The Druid. Which I should probably get around to reviewing now.
The story is set in Ireland, and the main character is a fake druid named Lew. The ugly little fellow decides he must marry Elaine, the fairest young girl in the neighborhood -- not because he loves her, but because he's convinced her wealthy father will set them up for a life of ease. Alas, Elaine is already promised to another -- a stranger who is shortly to arrive to collect her. Lew and his one-legged crow have only a few days to figure out how to trick Elaine into marrying him.
Delaney's tale is told effortlessly and with a great deal of fun. As you read it, you can almost imagine yourself gathered with your loved ones around the hearth while the Old Storyteller weaves his tale about you all.
I need to find the other stories in this series. Highly recommended for those who love a good tale.
Source: www.rursdayreads.com/2016/10/the-druid-storytellers-book-1-frank.html
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review 2014-09-02 04:11
„Schwert und Harfe – die große Irlandsaga“
Schwert und Harfe - Frank Delaney

Ronan O’Mara ist ein neunjähriger irischer Junge. Eines Tages steht ein Geschichtenerzähler vor der Tür seiner Familie. Er ist der letzte seiner Art. Nach drei Tagen setzt Ronan‘s Mutter den Mann vor die Tür und Ronan ist entsetzt.
Er beginnt eine Suche, die richtunggebend für sein Leben wird…

Schwert und Harfe ist eine Geschichte voller Geschichten. Historie und Legenden Irlands werden farbenprächtig erzählt. Zudem wurde die Saga so gekonnt geschrieben, dass man trotz der Fülle von Geschichten dem Hauptstrang mit Leichtigkeit folgen kann.

Selbst als Erwachsener hat Ronan den Geschichtenerzähler nicht vergessen. Er beginnt durch ganz Irland zu reisen und ihn zu suchen. Auf dieser Reise sammelt er immer mehr Geschichten und scheint stetig näher an sein Ziel zu kommen. Als er endlich den Mann findet, entdeckt er ein gutgehütetes Familiengeheimnis…


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review 2013-04-16 12:21
Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show: A Novel of Ireland
Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show: A Novel of Ireland - Frank Delaney A long and rambling and colorful and wonderful novel about a father who runs away in pursuit of an actress, a son who journeys off to find him and the charismatic, scandalous and traitorous family behind it all. Frank Delaney's novel is a bittersweet trip through 1930s Ireland- its highways and byways but most of all its countryside and its people, whose central mystery isn't even revealed until the end, and much less ever solved. It's addictive, page-turning reading full of foreshadowing and bluster and charm. See my full review on my blog: http://www.bostonbibliophile.com/2010/04/review-venetia-kellys-traveling-show-by.html
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review 2011-10-05 00:00
Undead (Kindle Single) - Frank Delaney Undead (Kindle Single) - Frank Delaney Delaney's humor is not my cuppa. There is not much new here about Dracula and Stoker. If you have read the book and any biography, you can pretty much skip this essay. (Additionally, how can you not mention "Christabel"?).
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review 2011-06-04 00:00
Ireland - Frank Delaney Delaney's use of voice in this novel is excellent, as is the massive amount of local flavor with which he imbues his writing. That's the best I can say about this book.

As you probably already know, Ireland attempts to tell the story of Ireland (surprise, surprise): about half the novel is a frame story set in the 1950s and 60s, concerning a young boy, Ronan, who meets a traveling storyteller and is captivated by Irish history. The other half consists of the stories themselves, told by various people (the storyteller, Ronan, a history professor, various people Ronan meets as he tries to find the storyteller again). The stories are almost all quite short and come in sequential order as we move through history. I'm impressed by just how much Delaney takes this framework to heart: never for a moment does he forget who's telling a story, and the reader will know too, simply by reading a few sentences of it. The local flavor comes in when we're reading the frame story; the places and local characters we meet in it couldn't feel more real.

Still, though, I was disappointed. As a novel, Ireland didn't work for me. The frame story takes up a lot of time and was reasonably interesting, but Ronan was a jerk and there wasn't enough substance there to justify the time spent on him. And the sheer number of words Delaney's characters spent lavishly praising the embedded short stories (written by Delaney) felt self-indulgent. Most of the short stories themselves, meanwhile, didn't work for me. I freely admit that I'm not a short-story person, and had I realized quite how short they would be, may not have read the book (the first story is 40 pages, but after that the average is probably around 12). There simply wasn't enough there in terms of plot, character development, historical information or anything else, for me to care about them. Paradoxically, I think this is what makes so many people like the book--the fact that the stories tell you more about the storyteller than the content of the story, and what that tells us about our constructions of history. It is interesting, and had I been looking for thematics rather than a novel that would suck me in and teach me about Irish history (this one didn't teach me much; someone who's already familiar with Irish history might appreciate it more), I might have liked it better.

Maybe I'm not being fair to this book; my criticism comes more from what I wish it had been than any serious flaws. Nonetheless, potential readers should know that Delaney's Ireland isn't for everyone.
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