The Scarlet Letter

  • by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Narrated by John Chatty, Cindy Hardin Killavey
  • 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Hester Prynne commits adultery in a Puritan settlement and, as a result, is "branded" for the rest of her life by having to wear a scarlet letter "A" on her breast. Throughout the story, a complex relationship develops between Hester, her lover, her husband, and her daughter. This recording does not include Hawthorne's essay, "The Customs House".


Audible Editor Reviews

This classic novel of adultery in 17th-century Boston, Nathaniel Hawthorne's best-known work, is given new life in this performance. While this is an older recording with a sound quality that's less than sharp at times, performers John Chatty and Cindy Hardin Killavey are excellent actors whose voices convey real dramatic depth. Although much of the setting and events may seem old-fashioned to modern listeners, the themes of loneliness, passion, guilt, remorse, and fortitude remain relevant, as does Hawthorne's excellent writing.


What the Critics Say

"In a clear, distinct style, the narrators bring the difficult words and phrases to life; their delivery fosters the stern, forlorn atmosphere associated with Puritan New England. This technically excellent recording is recommended as a classic." (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Something Missing

"This audiobook does not include Hawthorne's essay The Customs House," says the blurb. That "essay" is not a separate work, but considered the prologue to the novel. It describes how the narrator, working in the customs house 200 years after the action of the story, discovers a bundle of papers, wrapped in a piece of scarlet cloth (the scarlet letter). After reading the papers, he composes the novel. This audiobook jumps right to the action, with Hester Prynne being let out of prison. That's a lot of information to be missing, and I think, reason enough to pick one of the other versions available.

There is also a tin-can sound quality at times, but I got used to that.
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- Cheryl

very poor quality production

Any additional comments?

The production quality of this audio book was very poor and took away from the enjoyment of the story. At times the characters sounded as if they were in a tin can, I could often hear other voices in the background, and at times there was an echo. The narrator was good but the actress playing Hester sounded as though she was reading right from the book for the very first time. I do not recommend this version at all.

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- Michele

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-12-2006
  • Publisher: Jimcin Recordings