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Extended Audio Sample The Translation of the Bones: A Novel, by Francesca Kay Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (172 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Francesca Kay Narrator: Fiona Shaw Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Mary-Margaret O’Reilly is a seemingly harmless young woman, ready and willing to help out Father Diamond in the Sacred Heart church in Battersea. She may not be very bright, and she is sadly overweight, but she can certainly clean, and she is very good with children.

It is the statue of Jesus on the cross Mary-Margaret is especially drawn to, and one day she decides to give Him a thorough and loving cleansing. But moments later she lies unconscious, a great gash in her head, blood on the floor. Word gets out that she has witnessed a miracle, and soon a full-scale religious mania descends on the quiet church, and everyone from Father Diamond to his small but loyal band of parishioners is affected by it. After recovering, Mary-Margaret returns to the church and, obsessively, back to the statue of Jesus. He has told her things, things she must act on, and urgently. The act she decides upon is a shocking one, making The Translation of the Bones a riveting story of passion gone tragically wrong. 

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[A] skillfully constructed and beautifully written book, which is as much concerned with common humanity as it is with individual faith.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “Fiercely lyrical yet exceedingly tough-minded…stark and unforgettable.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “What begins as the small mystery of one woman’s vision (or delusion) explodes into a deeper story about how people cope with grief and loss.”

    Washington Post

  • “By imbuing these troubled souls with transcendent innocence and memorable backstories, Kay brings depth to characters that could easily become stereotypes, all while spinning an extraordinary plot.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Kay lays out a moving consideration of devotion and loss.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”, January 2012
  • Nominated for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award
  • Longlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Colette | 2/12/2014

    " Interesting characters in this tail of the week before Easter and strange events at a church in Battersea. Has a miracle happened or is the young woman who witnessed it mad? Thought-provoking stuff as the various churchgoers and the priest all have different perspectives on faith. Makes you question what you believe yourself, and how you would react in a similar situation. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Alexandra Yarrow | 2/10/2014

    " Religious hysteria, mental illness, a mother's love for her child and small-town multicultural England. A masterfully told tale of misunderstanding and dangerous fervor. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Linda | 2/2/2014

    " A dark story of simple faith corrupted by delusion and obsession. Poignant tale, beautifully written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Linda | 1/31/2014

    " Wow. What a story to finish during Lent. Cannot improve on what other reviewers said - "quiet story" "powerful". The themes of faith and motherhood in an English style were deep and unforgettable. I will definitely seek out her other works. "

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