Delaney, Frank 1942–
Delaney, Frank 1942–
Born October 24, 1942, in Tipperary, Ireland; son of Edward and Elizabeth Josephine Delaney; married Diane Meier (an advertising executive) September 14, 2002; children: Francis, Bryan, Owen.
Home—NY; CT. Agent—Diane Meier, 907 Broadway, New York, NY 10010.
British Broadcasting Corp., London, England, and Radio Telefis Eireann, Dublin, Ireland, broadcaster, beginning 1966; MEIER, specialist writer, beginning 2001; Spirit Films, founder, director, and producer, 2005—. Has also worked as a banker.
Betjeman Country, photographs by James Ravilious, drawings by Leonora Ison, Hodder & Stoughton/John Murray (London, England), 1983.
The Celts (based on his script for the BBC-TV series of the same title), Little Brown (Boston, MA), 1987.
Silver Apples, Golden Apples: Best-loved Irish Verse, Blackstaff Press (Wolfeboro, NH), 1987.
A Walk in the Dark Ages, HarperCollins (London, England), 1988.
Legends of the Celts, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1989, 2nd edition, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 1991.
The Hutchinson Book of Essays, Hutchinson (London, England), 1990.
Telling the Pictures, HarperCollins (London, England), 1993.
A Walk to the Western Isles: After Boswell and Johnson, HarperCollins (London, England), 1994.
Reynolds Stone (chapbook), Secker & Warburg, 1999.
Writers of Ireland, HarperCollins (London, England), 2001.
Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea, Random House (New York, NY), 2006.
Also author of Dust and Wind and Shadow (travel/history), 1988.
NOVELS; EXCEPT AS NOTED
My Dark Rosaleen (novella), Hutchinson (London, England), 1989.
Pearl, HarperCollins (London, England), 1991.
A Stranger in Their Midst, HarperCollins (London, England), 1995.
The Sins of the Mothers, HarperCollins (London, England), 1996.
The Amethysts, HarperCollins (London, England), 1997.
Desire & Pursuit, HarperCollins (London, England), 1998.
(Under name Francis Bryan) The Curse of Treasure Island, Viking, 2001.
At Ruby's, HarperCollins (London, England), 2001.
The Bell Walk, HarperCollins (London, England), 2003.
Ireland, HarperCollins (London, England), 2005.
Tipperary, Random House (New York, NY), 2007.
Shannon, Random House (New York, NY), 2009.
Frank Delaney illuminates James Joyce's classic novel Ulysses by emphasizing its most readily understood aspects in James Joyce's Odyssey: A Guide to the Dublin of Ulysses. Using maps and photographs to illustrate the physical territory covered by Joyce's story, the author presents a travel guide complementing Joyce's most famous work. Delaney offers a common-sense discussion of the relationship of Joyce's book to Homer's Odyssey, biographical notes, and insight into Joyce's characters in what Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, writing for the New York Times, deemed "an enthusiast's commentary." The critic judged Delaney's work "handsome, … useful," and even, at times, "compelling."
The Celts is Delaney's examination of the history, literature, and art of the ancient residents of Britain, based on the British Broadcasting Corporation television series of the same title for which he also wrote the script. Delaney's cursory treatment of the origins and prehistory of the Celts disappointed critic M.T. Kelly, who reviewed the book for the Toronto Globe and Mail, but Kelly observed that "he does go on to do justice to the rest of Celtic history." The critic praised Delaney's insight and imagination, noting that he makes pertinent points about both the historical Celts and their modern-day descendants. "The discussions of Celtic literature and storytelling … are fascinating and moving," added Kelly, "and the discussion of the spirit in Celtic art is also deeply imaginative." Concluded the reviewer, "In the end [Delaney] serves well those magical people who ‘believed in the suspension of reality. And … feared that the sky might fall.’"
In Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea Delaney chronicles the story of the Flying Enterprise, a ship that nearly ran aground off the coast of Ireland in 1951. The ship's hull was cracked, and its crew and passengers were trapped on the ship for several weeks as rescuers attempted to bring the vessel safely into port. Delaney relates how the ship, captained by Kurt Carlson, was supposed to travel from Antwerp to New York, but a bad storm waylaid the voyage, and the captain went to heroic lengths to keep the ship from sinking. Carlson ensured that the crew and passengers were rescued, staying with the ship alone until it could be towed into port. Delaney's retelling of the events was applauded by critics, who found Simple Courage to be a detailed and suspenseful work of nonfiction. Indeed, Booklist contributor Roland Green called the book "a tale certain to enthrall" and a "surefire nautical crowd-pleaser." A Goodreads contributor stated that "Delaney has a real talent for going into the necessary detail while keeping up the suspense and giving a careful analysis of the complex motivations that led Carlson to stay aboard his ship alone and his determination to get her into port."
Aside from his nonfiction books, Delaney is also a novelist, both under his name and the pseudonym of Francis Bryan. Delaney's pseudonymous novel, The Curse of Treasure Island, is written as a sequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's classic story Treasure Island. Set ten years after the end of Treasure Island, Delaney's sequel features the original characters Long John Silver and Joseph Tate, as well as protagonist Jim Hawkins. Though Jim was a boy in the original story, he is now an adult. His love interest, Grace Richardson, is in danger, and Jim returns to Treasure Island in the hopes of helping her. While there, he searches for a hidden stash of silver and discovers what has become of the pirates he last saw on the island. Reviewers were impressed by Delaney's respect for the original novel, finding that the sequel stayed loyal to the feel of Treasure Island. Indeed, Margaret Flanagan, writing in Booklist, stated that The Curse of Treasure Island is "true enough in tone and language to satisfy admirers of the original tale." Flanagan went on to call the book a "rousing sequel." Echoing this opinion, a Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that The Curse of Treasure Island "captures much of the original narrative's fast action and flying musket balls." A Publishers Weekly critic observed that "this sequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's 1893 classic packs a great deal of adventure into a relatively small package."
Delaney's novel Ireland is his most widely reviewed work to date. The book is an epic novel in which a mysterious storyteller relates the history of Ireland to a nine-year-old boy named Ronan O'Mara. Though the novel is set in 1951, the storyteller relates the imagined history of Ireland from the Ice Ages to 1916. This history is made up of Irish myths and fables as well as factual events. In a Bookseller interview with Benedicte Page, Delaney discussed his inspiration to take on so ambitious a topic. He stated: "There have been many brilliant histories of Ireland, but if you write a novel that tells of the turning points of Irish history, but at the same time conveys beneath the surface this strong deep voice saying, ‘This is what the people were like, this is what the feelings were like, the blood and the bone and the poetry’, that seemed to me a much better way of doing a rendition of the island as it is." For the most part, reviewers seemed to agree with Delaney's approach. For instance, Booklist contributor Ellen Lough- ran felt that the novel "will appeal to readers of family sagas and popular historical fiction." A Kirkus Reviews critic was also impressed, calling the book "a vivid rendering of Irish history, imagined and real," as well as a book with "sheer crowd-pleasing potential."
Capitalizing on the success of Ireland, Delaney next published the novel Tipperary. Like its predecessor, Tipperary is a fictionalized history, this time of the town where Delaney was born. The novel also tells the tale of Charles O'Brien and April Burke. Charles, a historian, falls in love with the wealthy April. The love story is set during a turbulent period in Ireland's history, from the late-nineteenth century to the early-twentieth century. Critics applauded the book. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called Tipperary "a sort of Irish Gone With the Wind, marked by sly humor, historical awareness and plenty of staying power." A Publishers Weekly critic noted that "Delaney's confident storytelling and quirky characterizations enrich a fascinating and complex period of Irish history." In another glowing assessment, USA Today writer Susan Kelly remarked: "Delaney vividly brings the legends and volcanic history of his native land to life. This is a long story, but because it is told from different, often conflicting perspectives, it is fast-paced and engrossing."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2002, Margaret Flanagan, review of The Curse of Treasure Island, p. 1584; February 1, 2005, Ellen Loughran, review of Ireland, p. 940; June 1, 2006, Roland Green, review of Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea, p. 21; September 15, 2006, Brad Hooper, "Top 10 Literary Travel Books," p. 23.
Bookseller, November 22, 2002, "Delaney to Write Novelistic History of Ireland," p. 28; June 11, 2004, Benedicte Page, "A Land of Story: Frank Delaney's Epic Novel about His Native Ireland Explores the Country's Powerful Oral Traditions," p. 28.
Entertainment Weekly, February 25, 2005, Susanna Sonnenberg, review of Ireland, p. 105; November 9, 2007, Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, review of Tipperary, p. 111.
Globe and Mail (Toronto), March 7, 1987, M.T. Kelly, review of The Celts.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2002, review of The Curse of Treasure Island, p. 437; November 15, 2004, review of Ireland, p. 1060; September 15, 2007, review of Tipperary.
Library Journal, May 1, 2002, Fred Gervat, review of The Curse of Treasure Island, p. 131; December 1, 2004, Susan Clifford, review of Ireland, p. 98; August 1, 2007, Susan Clifford Braun, review of Tipperary, p. 66.
New York Times, February 2, 1982, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of James Joyce's Odyssey: A Guide to the Dublin of Ulysses.
Publishers Weekly, March 25, 2002, review of The Curse of Treasure Island, p. 38; December 13, 2004, review of Ireland, p. 43; December 13, 2004, John D. Thomas, review of "The Gift of Gab," p. 44; March 21, 2005, Daisy Maryles, review of "Irish Eyes Are Smiling," p. 15; May 15, 2006, review of Simple Courage, p. 64; July 9, 2007, review of Tipperary, p. 27.
USA Today, May 1, 1998, Robert S. Rothenberg, review of The Celts, p. 81; July 25, 2006, Dan Oldenburg, review of Simple Courage, p. 5; November 27, 2007, Susan Kelly, "Hero Sets Forth for the Love of the Irish," p. 6.
Frank Delaney Home Page,http://www.frankdelaney.com (September 2, 2008).
Goodreads,http://www.goodreads.com/ (September 2, 2008), review of Simple Courage.