I love listening to a good story, and I think telling one is an art. This is one of the ideas that is at the heart of Ireland. A captivating and mysterious travelling storyteller comes to Ronan's house when he is 9 and it changes the course of his life forever. Why? Because he is so drawn by the stories and the man that tells them, that he spends his life searching him out. The dismissals, near misses and goodbyes are heartbreaking! But thankfully, after going through so many different moods and emotions, this book ends on a happier note!
The chapters alternate between Ronan's life as he grows up, and stories, most of them about the history of Ireland. But it's not a history book. The stories are magical. Many involve folklore, and have obviously evolved with each retelling. This concept alone is fascinating to me. Not everyone can tell a good story. Knowing what to include, what to leave out, what to embellish, is a talent, and the chapters that include stories from The Storyteller, really stand out as excellent examples. That is not to say that sometimes I wasn't so anxious to find out what was going to happen next in Ronan's life that I was tempted to skim over a story. But don't do it! They are worth reading.
There are so many bits of wisdom woven into the stories. Here are a few I jotted down:
"Anytime a great man tries to do a wonderful thing, lesser men will try to stop him. That is one of the laws of life."
"There's nothing braver than a man who knows fear and conquers it."
And because this is the first day of September and that makes me a little sad..."I welcomed August more than any month in the calendar, especially those last ten days when the gold is seeping into everywhere ."
I loved The Storyteller, and so was eager with Ronan as he sought him out and gathered information. This search brings magical moments of discovery that actually made me gasp as I was reading. Later in the book, Ronan experiences the death of a loved one, and his emotions are illustrated so well. I could feel his pain, and loved how those around him recognized and verbalized the sadness this event brought.
I enjoyed reading this book so much. The stories of Ireland, the art of storytelling, and the mystery that Ronan is trying to solve. All three elements work together without competing and blended perfectly for me! I couldn't put it down, but was so sad to finish it off. The ending is well-
written and satisfying. I am intrigued to read more of Mr. Delaney's books!