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The Last Storyteller by Frank Delaney

The Last Storyteller (2012)

by Frank Delaney

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  JosieRivers | Dec 28, 2014 |
Book Review & Double Book Giveaway: It’s only appropriate that we feature one of Ireland’s greatest contemporary authors, Frank Delaney, for St. Patrick’s Day. I’m a huge fan who’s read everything this internationally bestselling author has written, so my opinion of his newest novel, The Last Storyteller, is admittedly biased. I also have to admit that I was overwhelmed when his rep contacted me about reviewing this novel. How do you review the work of someone who NPR has rightfully called “the most eloquent man in the world?” Read the rest of my review & enter our double book giveaway at http://popcornreads.com/?p=3400 ( )
  PopcornReads | Mar 17, 2012 |
The Last Storyteller by Frank Delaney tells the story of Ben MacCarthy, by occupation a collector of Irish stories and lore. He travels the countryside, visiting the storytellers and recording the stories. As he travels he manages to also collect a poor, young girl fleeing her abusive family; a gunrunner for the IRA; and his much abused and beaten one-time wife. The supporting characters of this unlikely cast help fill in the rest of Ben's story.

The chapters are very short, often only a page or two long, which makes the reading go fast. I think I was up to about the third chapter when I realized I was hearing the story in my mind, being told in an Irish accent. The dialogue is not written in dialect but the feel of the words; the cadence of the story is written as if being told by a master storyteller. Although I was rather lost for the first few chapters, soon the story drew me in and I found myself transported to the troubled Irish countryside of 1956.

Despite the troubled times, and troubled people, that populate The Last Storyteller, it is not a dark or depressing novel. It was easy to become Ben's friend through the reading and adopt his accepting attitude. Sometimes he came off as a bit of a doormat but a loveable doormat, and he always managed to redeem himself. As Marian Killeen said "Ben had the greatest gift of loving." (pg 383) which, in turn, made him eminently loveable.

The Last Storyteller gives the reader an understanding of this turbulant time in Ireland's history all wrapped up in lovely adventure. A very worthwhile read. ( )
  DanaBurgess | Feb 23, 2012 |
The Last Storyteller was a very well written story about love and life. Frank Delaney’s main character is very likable and real, and about as far from one-dimensional as one can be. Stil while the storytelling is grand and the language of the book is elegantly beautiful, my favorite thing would have to be the stories within the story that are told by either John Jacob Farrel O’Neill or Ben MacCarthy himself. They were among my favorite parts of the book, and probably the most elegant of all the writings.

While The Last Storyteller is part of a three-book “series”, and I almost always insist on reading collections of related books from the first-the last or most recent. The Last Storyteller, however, truly does stand on its own- although I admit that I would like to read the other two books just because my interest has been peaked. While The Last Storyteller is fiction, it is so very easy to forget that when reading it- the story is told that well and that realistically. The characters are all enchanting and fascinating- I have to say by far I loved John Jacob Farrel O’Neill. Whether you love the written language and the beauty of words, enjoy folklore from days past, or just enjoy reading a good love story, The Last Storyteller will satisfy a lot of different tastes-there’s even murder and political tension all throughout it.

This book was provided for me by the publisher at no charge, nor was I given compensation
of any kind for this review. This review only reflects my personal opinion. ( )
  Shayna_Gier | Feb 17, 2012 |
There is nothing I like better than settling down with a good book. You know, the kind that not only has a great plot, but likable characters and good prose; one that will sweep you away to far off lands or time gone by. If you like this type of book then I highly suggest you read Frank Delaney’s The Last Storyteller.

The book is the last of his Irish historical fiction and in my mind the best. Delaney interweaves Irish mythology into a story set in the turbulent 1950’s Ireland. He goes back and forth, as all good storytellers do, taking his readers with him.
The book jacket suggests the book is about Ben, a collector of stories who finds himself caught up with rebellious gunrunners all the while trying to find his former wife and love his life the actress Venetia Kelly. If this name sounds familiar it is because she is the subject of Delaney’s previous book Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show. Yet the book is much more than this, it is a wonderful collection of mythology that Delaney says he either collected or made up himself. You cannot tell which is which.

How to describe Delaney’s use of prose? This always eludes me when I am trying to convince someone to read one of his books. He is an author who can, in a few short words, describe a scene that would take others paragraphs. One of my favorite quotes from the book is from Ben as he sits in an Irish pub, “Using no energy, I eavesdropped on the silence around me, punctuated by snatches of idle conversation”. This is the type of style Delaney is famous for and why I continue to read his work.
If you ever sat at the feet of a great storyteller and were awed by his ability to hook you in and keep you, then I highly recommend The Last storyteller. ( )
1 vote Sarij | Feb 8, 2012 |
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Ireland, 1956. Although Ben MacCarthy wants no part of an 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.… (more)

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