Sunday, March 20, 2011

What We're Reading #2

What We're Reading





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This week, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, I re-read Frank Delaney's Ireland. The "framework" story in this book is that of a young man named Ronan O'Mara, whose life is drastically changed forever when a Seanchai, or a traveling storyteller, visits his home when Ronan is nine years old.  The storyteller's larger than life persona and story delivery makes a lasting impression on young Ronan; he knows that fate has brought this man into his life. Ronan is devastated when his mother sends the storyteller away from their home.

Ronan now has a new passion in life: history and stories about Ireland. Ronan spends most of his free time collecting and chronicling stories and searching for the storyteller.  Along the way, Delaney chronologically retells some of the most fascinating stories from Ireland's history: from the Architect of new Grange to the 1916 Poets' Rebellion.  Some of my favorite stories from the book include: St. Patrick and the Devil's Bit, The Origin of the Book of Kells, The Pursuit of Finn MacCool,  The Marriage of Strongbow, and The Man Who Could Handle Handel.  These rich stories are, for the most part, told in Ireland's oral tradition by the storyteller and other characters in the novel.  Delaney's writing is so perfect in recreating these oral stories that I feel I am there, in the smokey room, listening.  And I believe every word as the Gospel truth!  These stories of Ireland are what make this book so special.  I am not trying to take anything away from Ronan's story at all; it is very good in and of itself. But the Irish stories make this book unputdownable.

When Ronan enters university in Dublin, he decides to read history.  When tragedy strikes, Ronan takes to the road in pursuit of the storyteller.  After several months traveling and searching, Ronan is shocked by a family secret everyone seems to know about but him. Devastated, he returns to his favorite history professor's summer school session, and later to his family.  Ronan continues his education in Cork, and gives-up on finding the storyteller. Throughout the book, there have been odd coincidences in how the storyteller is able to find Ronan and send him transcripts of stories.  Other characters seem to know far more about the storyteller than is seemly, and no one is telling Ronan a thing.  Family secrets, Irish folktales, an ingenious plot, and a perfect climactic ending make this book a must-read for anyone who loves a good story.  And in the case of Ireland, you get dozens of well-written stories woven into its framework.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill



10 comments:

  1. What a great idea this Linky Party is! This book sounds really interesting. I wish I could put a book to my forehead and absorb it. So many books, so little time :) XOL

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  2. Hi Ricki Jill, joining your party for the first time, what a lovely idea ,I am always looking for new books to read, so now I know where to go:)

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  3. Thank you for starting our party off right, Ricki Jill!

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  4. Ireland sounds like a great book. I think I'd enjoy it too. I cannot believe how many books you get through. I haven't read a bit since I finished A Passage to India, so joining up to this party may be a rare event. Thanks for hosting it.

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  5. Thanks for the invitation to join in! I am not sure what your ground rules are so correct me if I do it wrong. I will try to be more organised next month, but this time just posting my last review and putting the badge on my blog.

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  6. I just picked up my own copy of Ireland...I can't wait to read it! :D

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  7. It sounds good! I will have to see if my library has it. I see you have a Maeve Binchy on your list. I have read all of hers. Is this a new one? I forget ! I think I read Quentins unless it is new.

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  8. Sounds like a great book Ricki!!
    This is the same authour who wrote Angela's ashes too isn't it?

    Happy Anniversay to you as well and your wedding photo is beautiful!
    I see you are a huge Maeve Binchy fan as well. I love her books and have most of them!!

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  9. That book looks wonderful! And I would LOVE to take part in this linky next month! Will you remind me? heehee! I just finished Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy...I love her books! ♥

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  10. I missed the deadline. Hopefully I can share next time. Here's the link to my current read.http://fourborne.blogspot.com/2011/03/currently-reading-devastation.html

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I read and appreciate all of your comments :D