Narrator: Chris Barnes
Published by Self Published / Indie on 15 September 2016
Length: 1 hr and 28 mins
Source: Narrator, Submitted
The legend of Sawney Bean has long been discussed and adapted into other stories. There has been discussion on which parts of the tale are fact and which parts are fiction.
This is the story from the man himself. Sawney Beans journey from a 12-year-old lad into the leader of the most notorious cannibal family to ever live. He tells the tale of how he met his wife and how they ended up raising a massive inbred clan in a secluded cave not far from the very people they were killing for food.
Here Sawney's side of the story and the true facts of what actually happened. Was he a cold-blooded cannibal or just another man trying to do his best for his family?
©2015 Kevin J. Kennedy (P)2016 Kevin J Kennedy
ABR received this audiobook for free from the Narrator, Submitted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect our opinion of the audiobook or the content of our review.Buy from Audible Buy from Amazon.comAdd to Goodreads
This is a cannibal story that rather than focusing on the gore, focuses on the family of cannibals itself and how they came to be what they are. Prior to this audiobook, I had not heard of the Sawney Bean legend so I came into the tale with fresh ears. It starts off simply enough. Two teens, Sawney and Sarah, meet over a flame-roasted rat and they quickly learn a few keys things about each. Sawney isn’t coddled or doted over at home and Sarah is dealing with her abusive aunt and uncle. They decide they’ve had enough and go off to live in a cave together. That little part of the story is pretty simplistic and I was a little surprised that no one really noticed they were gone and no real search was made for the pair. However, I can see why it’s necessary to get the ball rolling in a tale as short as this.
Life in the cave is simple at first and I really didn’t peg these characters as villains. I was rather worried that they were going to run into a horde of cannibals or perhaps Sarah wasn’t what she claimed to be and was instead some supernatural character that lured Sawney await to a horrendous end. But, no, this story is more subtle than that. Sawney’s and Sarah’s relationship develops a bit further until a child is introduced into the mix. Then Sarah’s focus and attention is all for the baby girl, Lily (if I recall correctly).
As more and more children enter the tale (Ilsa, Hawk, Star, Moon, etc.), the relationship between Sawney and Sarah devolves, getting to the point that they rarely speak to one another. For the entire story, we are in Sawney’s head and so we know that he misses having a real relationship, not just the occasional physical coupling. I found myself sympathizing with him even as the story brought in the cannibalistic elements. Later on, as Sarah’s brood grows older, there’s even some incest. Still, Sawney remains a sympathetic character who truly wants what’s best for his growing clan of murdering, illiterate, incestuous cannibals. That is what makes this a truly chilling tale. I want Sawney to rise above it, pull his brood out into the light, save the day… and yet he keeps being a part of the problem.
Despite the few faults with the tale (like rushing our two lead characters off into a cave together), I found the story captivating in a horrible accident, can’t look away kind of way. The tale pulled conflicting emotions out of me, which I find is a mark of skilled storytelling.
The Narration: Chris Barnes nailed this performance. He had an excellent accent for Sawney and a believable female voice for Sarah. Sawney goes through a roller coaster of emotions in this tale and Barnes did a great job of portraying them. His pacing was perfect and there were no technical issue with this recording.