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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Beartown by Fredik Backman, read by John Sackville. 

Beartown is a small town in a large Swedish forest.

For most of the year it is under a thick blanket of snow, experiencing the kind of cold and dark that brings people closer together - or pulls them apart.

Its isolation means that Beartown has been slowly shrinking with each passing year. But now the town is on the verge of an astonishing revival. A bright new future is just around the corner.

Until the day it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act. 

It divides the town into those who think it should be hushed up and forgotten, and those who'll risk the future to see justice done. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear.

With the town's future at stake, no one can stand by or stay silent. Everyone is on one side or the other.

Which side would you be on?

Previously published as The Scandal.

©2017 Fredrik Backman (P)2017 Penguin AudioBooks

Critic Reviews

"As popular Swedish exports go, Backman is up there with ABBA and Stieg Larsson." (The New York Times Book Review)

What listeners say about Beartown

Average Customer Ratings
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Brilliant

This is a great story about humanity and how hard it is to survive, but survive we do. A story about a hockey town ( although it could have been any other male dominated sport). A story about parenting, friendships, prejudices, deceit, love, humour, cruelty - it’s has it all, yet told in such a simple fashion that it is truly wonderful.

2 people found this helpful

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Inaudible

Loved the story. Listened on a very long car journey. The recording was not always audible. The narrator was so inconsistent that we missed whole chunks of the book. It was not possible to turn the volume up because in some parts it was then so loud as to be offensive, going to so quiet we couldn't hear. Very irritating and frustrating. It sounded as though the narrator kept moving his mouth away from the microphone.
We are not crazy to buy another title to see if it was just this narrator or a a general problem and so will probably cancel the subscription before we have to pay.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Backman delivers another beautiful story

Riveting story, detailed and credible characterisation., and searing emotion.
John Sackville reads it with the exact pitch of a sympathetic observer, drawing you in to Beartown in all its strength and frailty.
I loved this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Fiction or non-fiction?

Growing up in rural Sweden this really swept me back in both the best ways and the worst. Excellently written with great insight of the real areas described.

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Gripping and sad. Worth a listen

Not an easy listen. This is a story that deals with real issues - culture, parenting, substance abuse, abuse, rape, and what we choose to see, understand and/or accept. Ultimately a gripping story.

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Gripping story

A slightly slow start but a very well told and gripping story. The narrator taking on different English accents for a story not from there was a bit irritating but otherwise well told.

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  • elaine blaus
  • 09-01-17

Learnt a lot about ice hockey!

I really enjoyed this book, a great story but also loved the context, as it's a setting I knew nothing about. The characters were extremely well developed and you can empathize with them all. It was also great to listen to a story set in ice and snow in the middle of a Madrid 40 degree summer.

12 people found this helpful

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  • carol
  • 12-18-17

excellent

OMG this book was brilliant. I couldn't stop listening it was fantastic. I loved this book.

7 people found this helpful

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  • HeilanBling
  • 10-01-17

Great story, terrible voices!

I absolutely love Fredrik Backman so was really looking forwards to this book. it's very different to his others but still totally gripping and brilliant.
I did however have a seriously hard time getting used to the narration; nearly returned the download at first to swap to my kindle but stuck with it as it meant I could listen to it while I work. It's fine for the narrator type tracts but the kids voices were just awful! Like some bad Nickelodeon cartoon where adults are obviously trying to sound like kids. I dunno, it just sounded off...I'd be interested to see what other people thought of it!

7 people found this helpful

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  • John Bullard
  • 09-20-17

Also published as Beartown

Disappointing in every way. Poor story and bizarre narration. Where did those accents come from?

5 people found this helpful

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  • Carsten
  • 09-14-17

Amazing book!

.... like all his other ones ;-) great story and very sensitive observations on the human condition.

5 people found this helpful

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  • C. Long
  • 12-04-17

Another beautiful book by Fredrik Bachman.

I have loved all of Bachman’s previous books. I love his gentle humor and his social observations so I was a bit reticent when I saw his latest book was about ice hockey.

I shouldn’t have worried. This is a beautifully written and performed book that is about community, human nature, teams oh and ice hockey and it is wonderful.

This book covers a lot of serious issues but it manages to do it in a way that gets the reader thinking about different perspectives and why people are how they are and it dies this in a manner which somehow keeps the book light and interesting.

I don’t want to spoil it for you but outlining the plot so all I will say is that I am so sad that I have finished the book and I am looking eagerly online to see if Fredrik Bachman has anything else planned.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Miss
  • 01-16-18

I love this author

Fredrik Backman has an incredible insite into the human psyche, he has a talent that will push you to tears and to laughter in the Dane sentence and this book is no exception

3 people found this helpful

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  • Darkstomper
  • 11-06-17

Slow to build but in the end strong

This took awhile to get into. I’m not sure if it was the narrator or the content. Very strong end and enjoyed. Nothing at all wrong with the narrator per se but it just didn’t seem to fit the story.

3 people found this helpful

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  • MARY-ANNE
  • 10-26-17

I want to read this again

This was the most amazing story of love, hate and emotion it made me cry then laugh. What a talented author, I have loved all the books I have read so far and I’m hungry for more!

3 people found this helpful

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  • SteveB
  • 01-15-19

Gripping from start to end

I absolutely loved this. Although the hockey backdrop is important, this is primarily an intricate study of people. There were so many characters but I felt I knew them all. I also thought the very calm narration worked really well. I know it's only January, but I can't see how this isn't going to finish up as my best read of the year.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-05-18

Sound check

Loud volume from guest voice-overs which varies greatly from the narrator. Very off-putting.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Claire
  • 11-08-17

Compelling

Touched on so many aspects of life and how society behaves and responds.
I would recommend this book to everyone and think it should be on school book lists because it addresses such a wide range of behaviours and would encourage discussion.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Deb
  • 11-24-17

Layers

Ostensibly a story about a hockey team but soon you find yourself caught up in a complex community.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Carmen Schöffel
  • 09-17-17

Brilliant, weekday a story teller.

The final chapter had my goosebumps up for six minutes. So very well written. Loved it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • LYNNEF
  • 09-14-17

A well written tale

I was slowly dragged into the lives of this small ferocious community. Felt sad to say goodbye to the many well-drawn characters .

1 person found this helpful

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  • Judith
  • 09-09-17

Insightful and gripping story

An insight into people and small communities that makes it hard to stop listening. A moving portrait of a small town coping with sporting obsession.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-25-17

I guess I had high expectations

Well written, enjoyable - but I was always waiting for the climax which I felt never real came.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-04-21

beartown

great story, spellbinding end, well worth listening to. it was really well read! thanks

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  • Jennifer A Garley
  • 07-30-21

Another great Backman story

He draws you in and engages you with the characters and their lives. Fabulous writer and stories which slowly build and take you along on the journey.

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  • Mrs. Kaja Malouf
  • 01-06-21

Incredible

My new favorite author. This story is one of my top 10 best listens of all time.