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Tipperary: A Novel of Ireland [Kindle Edition]

Frank Delaney
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Historical Fiction
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Book Description

“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 respected Irish-Anglo family in 1860, Charles loves his native land and its long-suffering but irrepressible people. As a healer, he travels the countryside dispensing traditional cures while soaking up stories and legends of bygone times–and witnessing the painful, often violent birth of land-reform measures destined to lead to Irish independence.

At the age of forty, summoned to Paris to treat his dying countryman–the infamous Oscar Wilde–Charles experiences the fateful moment of his life. In a chance encounter with a beautiful and determined young Englishwoman, eighteen-year-old April Burke, he is instantly and passionately smitten–but callously rejected. Vowing to improve himself, Charles returns to Ireland, where he undertakes the preservation of the great and abandoned estate of Tipperary, in whose shadow he has lived his whole life–and which, he discovers, may belong to April and her father.

As Charles pursues his obsession, he writes the “History” of his own life and country. While doing so, he meets the great figures of the day, including Charles Parnell, William Butler Yeats, and George Bernard Shaw. And he also falls victim to less well-known characters–who prove far more dangerous. Tipperary also features a second “historian:” a present-day commentator, a retired and obscure history teacher who suddenly discovers that he has much at stake in the telling of Charles’s story.

In this gloriously absorbing and utterly satisfying novel, a man’s passion for the woman he loves is twinned with his country’s emergence as a nation. With storytelling as sweeping and dramatic as the land itself, myth, fact, and fiction are all woven together with the power of the great nineteenth-century novelists. Tipperary once again proves Frank Delaney’s unrivaled mastery at bringing Irish history to life.

Praise for Frank Delaney’s TIPPERARY:
“[T]he narrative moves swiftly and surely…A sort of Irish Gone With the Wind, marked by sly humor, historical awareness and plenty of staying power.” Kirkus Reviews
“[A]nother meticulously researched journey…Delaney’s careful scholarship and compelling storytelling bring it uniquely alive. Highly recommended.” Library Journal (starred)
“Sophisticated and creative.” — Booklist
“Delaney’s confident storytelling and quirky characterizations enrich a fascinating and complex period of Irish history.” Publishers Weekly
“Read just a few sentences of Frank Delaney’s writing and you’ll see why National Public Radio called him ‘the world’s most eloquent man.’” — Kirkus Reviews, “Big Book Guide 2007”

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

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; advise a young James Joyce (When you write... be sure to make it complicated. It will retain people's attention); tell an appreciative Yeats the story of Finn MacCool; and inadvertently bring down Charles Stewart Parnell. He also meets the founders and leaders of Sinn Fein and the IRA, and will, as will Ireland itself, entwine his fate with theirs. And at 40, never-married Charles meets the love of his life, 18-year-old April Burke, an Englishwoman who repeatedly spurns him and exploits him, but who has a large role to play in his life. The narrator claims that his interest in Charles and April is academic, but he eventually confesses that he suspects their stories have some personal relationship to his own. Delaney's confident storytelling and quirky characterizations enrich a fascinating and complex period of Irish history. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Frank Delaney is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Ireland as well as Simple Courage: The Story of S.S.Flying Enterprise–and One of the Greatest Naval Rescues in History. A former judge for the Man Booker Prize, Delaney enjoyed a prominent career in BBC broadcasting before becoming a full-time writer. Born in Tipperary, Ireland, he now lives in New York City and Connecticut.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 696 KB
  • Print Length: 466 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0812975944
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (November 6, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000W917DI
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,377 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Look at Ireland October 26, 2007
"Tipperary" it is safe to say, is one of the most enjoyable works of historical fiction I have read.
At first I had a bit of a struggle with Delaney's style. Delaney told his tale from alternating points of view. He often switched points of view in the middle of a page and without any distiction other than the "voice" of the narrator. I have participated in enough reading groups to know that there are readers who would have issues with this. To them I would advise that they "hang in there" because the story is well worth the effort. It doesn't take long for Delaney's voices to become distinct.
The author's format allows for a very large perspective on the lives of his characters. I loved this about the book.
Delaney also has a very low key sense of humor which I really enjoy,very subtle but very funny when he uses it.
I didn't know very much about Ireland when I started this novel. I tend to shy away from sob stories or "poor me" type books. It was a wonderful surprise to hear about Ireland and the Irish people from Delaney's perspective. The story was heartfelt and not at all sappy or over dramatized.
After completing this book, I will no doubt read Delaney's first novel titled "Ireland". The author tells a good story in a captivating style.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tipperary November 17, 2007
Played out against the backdrop of one of the most turbulent periods of Irish history, Tipperary doesn't read like a history lesson, yet it paints a vivid picture of those brutal days. If it is a love story, then it is a tale of the Irish and their great love of the land, revealed through journal entries, some penned more than half a century apart. This device works well, if a bit awkwardly in a few places. The overall effect is one of a chorus of voices weaving a complex tale of turmoil, with the predominant theme being the people's great passion for Ireland itself. The romances between people mostly take a back seat here, thankfully.

We see predominantly through the eyes of Charles O'Brien, who has an almost Forest Gump-like ability to meet and interact with nearly every important player who graced that period of Irish history. His encounters include that tragic genius Oscar Wilde, the legendary Charles Parnell, those brilliant writers William Butler Yeats and James Joyce, and culminate with his interactions with many crucial participants in the battle for Irish Home Rule, including Michael Collins himself. While I initially felt these meeting to be too contrived, I came to the realization that a member of the Irish upper class in that period could indeed have interacted with many of the history makers of those days.

I could barely put the book down while finishing off the final third of it, and having finished, I am left not only with a longing to fill those woefully large gaps in my knowledge of Irish History, but also with a desire to seek out more works by Frank Delaney.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Major Disappointment November 22, 2007
I enjoyed Frank Delaney's first novel Ireland : A Novel so much that I went on record as favoring it over Edward Rutherfurd's sweeping epic of Irish historical fiction. After reading 'Tipperary' I wonder if that earlier judgment was wrong or whether Delaney's second book has really fallen that far short.

'Tipperary' centers around an Irish itinerant folk doctor named Charles O'Brien who falls in love at the age of 40 with a young English woman named April Burke in Paris, but the love is decidedly unrequited. The telling of his story is choppy with multiple narrative voices each in a different time period. Delaney has O'Brien meet numerous lights of Irish literature and politics of the late 19th century - among others he meets Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, Shaw, Parnell, de Valera, and Collins. Annoyingly most of these people make only brief cameo appearances and add nothing to the story. What is the point of the name-dropping?

At nearly the half way mark, the book finally gets a purpose, albeit a rather unlikely one as O'Brien and April Burke join forces after a fashion to bring Tipperary Castle, an Anglo Irish Great House in O'Brien's neighborhood back to its former glory. With the Irish Civil War in the background, Delaney also finally delivers a little sustained history.

`Tipperary' disappoints and only in part due to high expectations based on Delaney's `Ireland'. Having waded through 200 pages of tedium as Delaney struggled to pull the story together, this reader found it hard to work up much of an interest in what happened to Charles O'Brien and April Burke and the bloody stupid `castle'.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed April 28, 2008
Delaney's, "Ireland," was a hard act to follow. I loved it. It was absolutely the best read I have had in years. "Tipperary," on the other hand, was difficult to read and extremely hard to follow.

I understand that Delaney was trying to tie in an incredible amount of Irish history into the life of one man. He should have tried focusing on one event or a shorter time period instead. His characters did not come alive and that is sad considering he was writing about an extremely vital people during a crucial part of their history.

Having said that, optimist that I am, I will buy another Delaney novel. "Ireland" was so good, it left me begging for more. Hopefully, the next book will be an improvement over "Tipperary".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Lent it to my sons and they both loved it.
I listened to the audio book and it kept me company on my travels. Lent it to my sons and they both loved it.
Published 1 day ago by Beth Chambers
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Loved it!
Published 2 months ago by Jeanne D. Olsen
3.0 out of 5 stars A little long winded and the mention of a lot ...
A little long winded and the mention of a lot of characters made it hard to follow. He writes about Michael Collins and DeValera and others important to Irish history but kind of... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Catherine Dillon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love this book
Published 5 months ago by warren i arterburn
4.0 out of 5 stars Long, but ultimately worth the wait
I initially chose this book because it covers the post-famine era in Ireland, the era into which my great great grandparents were born. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Niki Shields
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Christmas present-perfect!
Published 6 months ago by Danny L. Jorgensen
5.0 out of 5 stars Frank Delaney never disappoints
Frank Delaney never disappoints. This one started off a little slow but soon has you hooked, just like Ireland or the Last Storyteller (his books) does. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Miki scott
4.0 out of 5 stars A literary rush
While it would sound fatuous to suggest Frank Delaney wrote Tipperary for the likes of me, it does feel that way. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Peter H. Burris
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Glued to the pages from start to finish! Would recommend to any one and every one. Great historical fiction work.
Published 8 months ago by Maureen
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good depiction of working class Ireland, but too descriptive, wordy, for me.
Published 9 months ago by Nancy E.
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More About the Author

'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 (including 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. His latest novel, "The Last Storyteller" (Random House, February 7th 2012) celebrates the mysteries of the ancient oral tradition as the last itinerant storytellers work their magic in 1950's Ireland.

Mr. Delaney lives in Litchfield County, Connecticut, with his wife, writer and marketer, Diane Meier.

Delaney broadcasts "Re:Joyce," a weekly podcast on James Joyce's "Ulysses" on his website You can find his daily writing tips on Twitter:

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