Historical Fiction: Ireland, by Frank Delaney

5.0 out of 5 stars The storyteller

Frank Delaney’s Ireland is my kind of novel. Rich with character, history, and lyrical language, it is at once the chronicle of a nation and the coming of age tale of a young man. The story opens with the arrival of a man who may be Ireland’s last itinerant storyteller, and from the moment he lights his pipe by the fireside, and begins describing the evolution of prehistoric New Grange, his audience is enthralled. As is Ronan, who from that evening on finds his career and his very life shaped by this enigmatic, nameless wanderer. The millenium-long, traumatic epic  of a nation’s building, the travails of a single 20th century family, the beauty of the landscape, the pain of loss, forgiveness and love, poets and leprechauns – it’s all here, fascinating and beautifully expressed. If the book has a flaw, it’s in its length. Though it bogs down after the halfway mark, Delaney’s riveting conclusion more than makes up for that. Highly recommended for lovers of good historical fiction.

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