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The Last Storyteller: A Novel of Ireland Paperback – February 26, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 82 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Riveting . . . Readers will quickly warm to [Frank] Delaney’s vividly described Ireland of the 1950s, its fully realized inhabitants, and the dynamic political and personal relationships that make for a remarkable story.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A colorful, leisurely tale, with dark moments as well as humor and grace.”—The Star-Ledger
“A magical tale [that] weaves in a jackpot of Irish myths.”—Bookreporter  
“Character-rich and dramatic.”—Library Journal

About the Author

Frank Delaney is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Ireland, as well as The Matchmaker of Kenmare, Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show, Tipperary, Shannon, and Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea. 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.

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Product Details

  • Series: A Novel of Ireland (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (February 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812979753
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812979756
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #550,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Here's the thing about Frank Delaney - when that blurb on sites like GoodReads and Amazon refer to him as "unparalleled" when it comes to Irish History, they aren't exaggerating.

Delaney is the real deal.

I've loved this series ever since reading the first page about Ben and Venetia in Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show. I was drawn in by the whimsical, perfectly illustrated cover of that book, and since then I have been wooed and won over by the lyricism of Delany's storytelling ability.

There are times when a writing is so powerful you can hear the accent, or the coloring of the speech, and it is that way with this book. When Delaney talks about the old storytellers, when he describes the way the voice sounds, the rising and falling of the rhythms, I feel transported, and am enchanted right along with the characters who, enviably, get to hear more than I do.

That's right, I said enviably. It's not often I envy a character, but man.. This book made me do so.

While I loved the continuation of Venetia and Ben's story, I have to say the diverging into the old tales (there was one story in particular that had me gasping - think banshee) is what made this book a treasure to me. I felt as if I were part of that privileged circle that gets to experience what it must have been like to listen to the Bard's of old.

Mr. Delaney, thank you. You do those Bards credit - and personally, I think you should sign your name "Frank Delaney, Bard" from now on.
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Format: Hardcover
I was fortunate to receive an advance review copy of Frank Delaney's The Last Storyteller. It was my first introduction to his work, and even though the book is part of a continuing series, it works wonderfully as a stand-alone novel.

While the beginning is just a tad slow, it was soon easy to be lost in Ben and Venetia's story while still being captivated by the interweaving of the legends and mythos of Ireland too - not an easy feat, and one that shows off Delaney's considerable narrative skills.

Delany is both a lyrical writer and a master of pacing. He draws characters with a few deft strokes and makes them seem complex and believable. I was taken by the contrast of beautiful description and the casual brutality of many of the scenes. It really captures a time period in Irish history and brings it to life. And in segments where a love story could have been somewhat self-indulgent, it speaks to the way we mythologize our own lives and how we pass down our memories to future generations, how we can't escape our own histories and how we draw on the past to fill out our lives.

While historical in nature, that history never seems rote or boring - it's a breathing, living thing that is just as compelling as any piece of action or intrigue. It's a beautiful and exciting book, full of memorable scenes, and I highly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
Had the privilege to be asked to review Frank Delaney's newest novel. Though I have read all of his books to date, I have only reviewed one other, Tipperary, which was my first experience reading anything by Mr. Delaney.
Reread my first review and was struck by how "timid" the review sounded. After reading the rest of his novels, I would like to trumpet Frank Delaney's story telling abilities from a few rooftops. Obviously, this would be impractical but I will post this review of "The Last Storyteller" to several sites online. Urging others to visit Ireland, learn a bit of it's history, experience much of it's wonderful character and enjoy (I smiled a lot) many tales taken from it's folklore, through the eyes of a wonderful Irish author.
The title of this book "The Last Storyteller" is, for a reading person such as myself, a dire thought. Was raised on stories, both written and verbal, believe them to be a part and parcel of who I am, not wealthy in so far as material belongings but rich in ways that transcend money and things.
Frank Delaney himself is a storyteller of the old school and this book is about such a storyteller. The story follows the life of one man who takes on the old profession of a traveling storyteller. But, this is a pretty simplistic discription. The book is so much more. The history of Ireland with all of it's drama, the character of the Irish people and the beauty of it's land are all drawn on the page by a an artist, a wordsmith I would say.
To read this book is to travel and to meet new and interesting people. One will turn the last page having added immeasurably to their lives.
This review comes with this warning.....if you read one of Frank Delaney's books, you will want to go back and read them all, as I did.
Read this book ! Enjoy !
Thank you for sharing the stories Mr. Delaney...may the "Storytellers" be around for a long time !
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Last Storyteller is the third and final installment in the story of Ben McCarthy and his estranged, Venetia Kelly. The trilogy began with Venetia Kelly's Travelling Show which was followed by The Matchmaker of Kenmare. Spanning two decades, through these novels, Frank Delaney has given readers a glimpse of Ireland and its rich culture.

In this ambitious epic, Ben McCarthy is the main character. Venetia, his estranged wife, plays a larger role in this final book. The brilliance of this book and the talent of the author lies in the author's ability to cover the larger scope of Ireland's history such as the IRA and poverty while never losing sight of Ben whose own personal adversities evolve as the story progresses and the reader comes to understand his pain, his losses, and motivations.

Although I encourage you to read all three of these intriguing novels, each one can stand alone because the author provides a complete background of the story so far at the start of each book. As I read through the stories, Ben MacCarthy, and the journey and adventures in his life, began to feel real to me. The Last Storyteller closes the trilogy with a completely satisfying ending.

Frank Delaney is a master storyteller himself. His passion for Irish history is evident on each page that is intermingled with politics, adversity, and plenty of conflict. Never boring, always entertaining, and forever poignant, this was a trilogy on a grand scale. A highly recommended trilogy indeed!
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