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This House of Grief

The Story of a Murder Trial
Narrated by: Kate Hood
Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (117 ratings)

Non-member price: $49.17

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Publisher's Summary

This House of Grief is a heartbreaking audiobook by one of Australia's most admired authors. Anyone can see the place where the children died. You take the Princes Highway past Geelong, and keep going west in the direction of Colac.

Late in August 2006, soon after I had watched a magistrate commit Robert Farquharson to stand trial before a jury on three charges of murder, I headed out that way on a Sunday morning, across the great volcanic plain.

On the evening of 4 September 2005, Father's Day, Robert Farquharson, a separated husband, was driving his three sons home to their mother, Cindy, when his car left the road and plunged into a dam. The boys, aged 10, seven and two, drowned. Was this an act of revenge or a tragic accident?

The court case became Helen Garner's obsession. She followed it on its protracted course until the final verdict.

In this utterly compelling audiobook, Helen Garner tells the story of a man and his broken life. She presents the theatre of the courtroom with its actors and audience - all gathered to witness to the truth - players in the extraordinary and unpredictable drama of the quest for justice.

©2014 Helen Garner (P)2016 Bolinda

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Fine telling of sad story

Helen Garner has recreated a very long trial and retrial which few of us would have sat through. It is a fine book, very well read here.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Terrible narrator

I just couldn't stand the narration on this, it made me cringe the entire book. It was so over the top theatre drama student and distracted from the narrative.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Worst reader EVER

I hate this reader so much. She ruined an extremely good book. When reading normally she was quite good, but as soon as characters spoke she put on horrible accents, as it's a court-based story, speech is constant. She gave the defendant and witnesses terribly done, 'occa Aussie' accents making them sound like they had low IQs and were idiots. The judges and prosecutor had hoity toity pseudo-British accents for some stupid reason, and the defence lawyer had a mixture of both. This also made the story seem biased, as it was a crime story - seemed like the narrator wanted the listener to think the defendant was stupid and guilty and the prosecution superior and more educated to the defence. This impression would not have come across in the text as written. Then she started putting on accents for American witnesses and it got to be too much. Not to mention her revolting depiction of people expressing emotion - whenever the text read '...she cried' or '...said through a choked voice' etc she put on this very hard to listen to pretend crying voice complete with sighs and whinging noises for bad effect.

I really enjoyed the story of this book but she absolutely ruined it to the point of every time a person spoke, I'd cringe and grimace waiting for her stupid voices to stop. I wish I'd just read the book not listened to it as I hated it and would never recommend it to anyone with this narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Back away from the audio version of this book

Download the non-audio version instead The narrator is infuriating to listen to. I felt like I was listening to an adults version of Playschool storytime. The narrator should try narrating only fiction. Unfortunately, her performance was so.distracting that I could not appreciate the author's work.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Narration could have been better

I wish I actually read this book. The unfortunate story was well written, keeping me interested. However, the narrator's performance was irritable when quoting barristers and witnesses...

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  • Sue
  • 05-06-2018

Difficult topic well covered

An in-depth coverage of a murder trial in modern Australia. Well written and interesting, despite the horrendous content.

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Disturbing and brilliant

This is such a distressing story but incredibly well written and well performed. I couldn’t stop listening, even though I was familiar with the story. I felt like I was right there in the court room watching it play out.

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captive storytelling by Helen Garner.

Kate gave a great performance that rang true to Helen's voice. The story was raw with real emotions. I loved the book. Normally I wouldn't have read about the subject; to painful. Helen Garner is an amazing, honest writer. Her writing had me captivated the whole time.

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Sensitive analysis of a sad story

the story is a sad one, the telling of it is intriguing. As usual Garner's storytelling provides a detailed and fascinating account.

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  • Adrienne
  • 10-03-2019

Murder or tragic accident?

Helen Garner is an accomplished journalist whose skills in research and engaging writing come to the fore in this examination of an Australian tragedy - the death of three young boys at the hands of their father. She manages to keep a critical distance from the trauma of the accident as she follows the court case allowing the reader/ listener to form their own judgements about the culpability or not of the defendant. It’s a very sad event but she does not allow the text to be maudlin or sentimental and she retains respect and sympathy for those involved.