06 February, 2012

The Last Storyteller by Frank Delaney Review

"Every legend and all mythologies exist to teach us how to run our days. In kind fashion. A loving way. But there's no story, no matter how ancient, as important as one's own. So if we're to live good lives, we have to tell ourselves our own story. In a good way." So says James Clare, Ben MacCarthy's beloved mentor, and it is this fateful advice that will guide Ben through the tumultuous events of Ireland in 1956.
The national mood is downtrodden; poverty, corruption, and a fledgling armed rebellion rattle the countryside, and although Ben wants no part of the upstart insurrection along the northern border, he unknowingly falls in with an IRA sympathizer and is compromised into running guns. Yet despite his perilous circumstances, all he can think about is finding his former wife and true love, the actress Venetia Kelly.
Parted forcibly from Ben years ago, Venetia has returned to Ireland with her new husband, a brutal man and coarse but popular stage performer by the name of Gentleman Jack. Determined not to lose Venetia again, Ben calls upon every bit of his love, courage, and newfound gun-running connections to get her back. And as Ben fights to recapture his halcyon days with Venetia, he must finally reconcile his violent and flawed past with his hopes for a bright and loving future.
Brimming with fascinating Irish history, daring intrigue, and the drama of legendary love, The Last Storyteller is an unforgettable novel as richly textured and inspiring as Ireland itself.
About Mr.Frank Delaney:

'The Most Eloquent Man in the World', says NPR, about the writer, broadcaster, BBC host and Booker Prize Judge, Frank Delaney. Over a career of interviews 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 prolific author, a polished broadcaster on both television and radio, to journalist, correspondent, screenwriter, lecturer, playwright and scholar. He has been the president of the Samuel Johnson Society, president of the UK Book Trust, and the Literary Director of the famed Edinburgh Festival.
A judge of many literary prizes (as well as the famous Booker), Delaney also created landmark programs and passionate documentaries on many subjects including Joyce, Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Hemingway, Mailer, Matisse, Van Gogh and the vitality and organic growth of the English language - his famed BBC show on the way we speak, Word of Mouth, is still heard all over the English-speaking world. And his six-part series, The Celts, originally broadcast in forty countries, is still in active DVD distribution, some twenty years after its launch.
Mr. Delaney lectures all over the world, writes every day, and has created a significant podcast series: Re:Joyce, deconstructing, examining and illuminating James Joyce's Ulysses line-by-line, in accessible and entertaining five-minute broadcasts, posted each week on this website. The project is estimated to run a quarter of a century.
Born and raised in County Tipperary, Ireland, Delaney spent more than twenty-five years in England before moving to the United States in 2002. His first 'American' book was the New York Times Bestseller, Ireland. His second, the non-fiction Simple Courage, was chosen as one of the top five books of the year by the American Library Association. Since 2006, he has published five Novels of Ireland, all addressing, decade by decade, the twentieth century history of his homeland.

Delaney is paving the way for the publication of "The Last Storyteller" with a series of short story e-books, "The Storytellers Series." In these, Delaney takes the centuries-old tradition of the storyteller out from under the starry skies and into the new medium of an e-reader short story, readable on any computer desktop, Kindle, Nook, or iphone. In "The Druid," the first of the Storyteller Series, you'll meet an unforgettable character who is schemer, charmer, misfit, opportunist and hanger-on, and whose canny calculations--involving a one-legged crow--around a beautiful girl take the tale to a cliffhanger conclusion.
AND ... "The Druid," and "The Girl Who Lived on the Moon," the first two stories in Frank Delaney's new series of "Storytellers" e-books, will be free on Amazon for two days, starting tomorrow February 7th!

Here’s a little more about the "Storytellers" project:
What do one-legged crows, space trains that traverse a sky colored "between navy blue and royal," and huge smiling Unicorns - all have in common?
They all make appearances in Delaney's latest project, a series of e-books called "Frank Delaney Storytellers." And they're all part and parcel of the fabric of modern myth, invented in homage to a particular ancient discipline: that of the itinerant storyteller, who drew upon fantastic leaps of the imagination, actual history of local lands, and a trove of national mythology. The Storyteller’s mission reminded his countrymen of their own past, recycled their traditions and created great entertainment in the doing.

The first of these stories, "The Druid," is part of what Delaney terms those legends that describe the "management of our existence." Beginning "Long, long ago, when the pigs ate the apples off the trees and the birds flew upside down," "The Druid" introduces us to a schemer, a charmer, a misfit, a hanger-on, infinitely flawed and thus oddly satisfying, whose careful calculations--involving a one-legged crow and a beautiful girl take the tale to its cliffhanger conclusion.

With "The Girl Who Lived on the Moon," Delaney takes us on a journey to the heavens and back, and, in so doing, examines our origins, where we got our penchant for invention, and what role the emotions play in our own ability to create. Luna, "The Girl Who Lived on the Moon" herself, is an assured, odd, and enchanting little personage. Her life, as she races around the moonrocks and pines over the blue ball that appears over the horizon, can peak our curiosity and light up our imagination. Told in a lilting way that captures the patterns of the spoken word, the story introduces bright, vivid, fantastic images into our minds that may just have something to tell us about the origins of the creative imagination and the role it plays in our life.

Mr. Delaney lives in Litchfield County, Connecticut, with his wife, writer and marketer, Diane Meier.
My Thoughts:
The Last Storyteller by Frank Delaney is the continuation and last novel in the trilogy that started with Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show and The Matchmaker of Kenmare. This story is told by Ben MacCarthy to his children in the form of a story. He tells his own story of the his time in the 1950's where he gets embroiled in the IRA as he is a friend to a sympathizer. He works as a 'collector' of stories and after he loses that job he goes on to learn more from another good friend until he is able to go out and be a storyteller himself. He also tells children of his search for their mother, Venetia Kelly, and his love for her. Even though he has been apart from Venetia for many years, he has never stopped loving and searching for her. I really enjoyed this series as I love Irish history. The stories and descriptions of the characters involved are so real and the "troubles" of the times so well told that I felt like I was right there . Mr. Delaney definitely has a way with words, truly eloquent indeed. I highly recommend this series for anyone who wants to escape into Mr.Delaney's world and even learn a wee bit about the Irish. Frank Delaney is also the author of Shannon, Tipperary, Simple Courage and Ireland.
I received a copy of this book for review and was not monetarily compensated for my review.
Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show

The Matchmaker of Kenmare

Source: YouTube

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