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Publisher's Summary

The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s, magnum opus, tells the story of Hester Prynne, who gives birth two years after separation from her husband and is condemned to wear the scarlet letter A on her breast as punishment for her adultery. She resists all attempts of the 17th century Boston clergy to make her reveal the name of her child’s father while she struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity.
Public Domain (P)2011 Cherry Hill Publishing
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Savannah on 06-23-14

Trust Me-- Try It!

Where does The Scarlet Letter rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is the first audible I have listened to, and it is wonderful! The narration was great, and the plot was deep, but not beyond understanding.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Scarlet Letter?

When the two lovers decide to leave the harsh world they face daily, and run away together.

What does Ian Lynch bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I will be honest. This book would be a hard read. It is decently old, and the language can be difficult (although, as an 8th grader, I have read harder, so it isn't impossible). But, listening to it made it so that you could understand what was happening, even if you didn't understand the sentence.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No.

Any additional comments?

Be brave, and try it. This is my new favorite book! Even though it is old, it will have you on the edge of your seat one moment, and swept off your feet the next. It is romantic (and, in my opinion, romance is better with old English aka. Pride and Prejudice) and sometimes creepy.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Maman on 06-16-14

A joy to listen to

Where does The Scarlet Letter rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is among my top three.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved that that the story unfolds so beautifully. Although you know what is going to happen from the beginning it is very compelling and has lots of very lovely moments.

What about Ian Lynch’s performance did you like?

I think the narrator made this perfect. He uses appropriate tone, pronunciation and pacing of delivery for the period in which the novel is based. The different characters- male/female/child whilst easily differentiated are not made into an over the top performance. First class narrator.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

There is good use of music for chapter/scene breaks.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Chrissie on 04-18-18

Abridged. Lacks The Custom-House Introduction

What disappointed you about The Scarlet Letter?

This is abridged. It is-lacking the lengthy "Custom-House" introduction written by the author. In the introduction we are told that the author worked in the Boston Custom-House and there discovered a cloth embroidered with the letter "A". Hawthorne DID work in the custom house, but that he discovered the embroidered "A" cloth is fictitious. The introduction must not be removed because it sets up why the following story is told. IF it is removed, customers must be told that it has been removed!

Secondly, the narration by Ian Lynch is TERRIBLE. His intonations for female characters and children are atrocious. They sound fake, shrill and unpleasant. There is too much dialog to ignore these unpleasant interludes. Also, in his reading of the lines the narrator stops and pauses in the wrong places.

This is a very good story. What is says is valid still today and Hawthorne's prose is perceptive and beautiful. I recommend that you choose a different audiobook!

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Anonymous User on 02-21-18

Interesting but repetitive

This story is characterised by the repetitive use of the words 'ignominy', 'tremulous' and 'imp'. Dozens and dozens of times each. Although the story is fairly interesting, the plot is really very simple and as such there is a lot of repetitive padding.

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3 out of 5 stars
By Julia on 05-30-17

Classic: Overly Descriptive with a Slow Plot

~It’s All Been Done Before: The difficulty in reviewing a book under the category of Classic is that it feels like everyone’s already said what needed to be said.

~The Use of Language: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s style of eloquent and descriptive language isn’t my style of writing, but the flowery language does suite the book’s style, my favourite descriptions are of the forest, the river and the brook, which take place over the couple of chapters that Pearl, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale spend talking in the forest.

~The Lady Doth Protest Too Much: I know Pearl is supposed to come across as this creepy demon-child that only a mother could love, but I honestly didn’t think she was that weird, Pearl came across as a fairly normal child considering her upbringing (and time-period) of only spending time in the company of her mother and pretty much being scorned or ignored by everyone else. A lot of the comments of “she is such a strange child” came across as projection on Hester Prynne’s part.

~Female Protagonist Problems – Passive Character: By the research I’ve done on the book, I’m informed that Hester Prynne is considered not only a martyr but a literary heroine, but I suppose I have a very different idea of what the character arch of a feminine literary hero should be, although it could most certainly be argued that Hester Prynne is a Hero by the Greek Tragedy definition. I understand the concepts of Hester Prynne’s character that Nathaniel Hawthorne is trying to convey, that good lies in the everyday small deeds of kindness and that soft is not weak.

These are good ideas and concepts to put forward, these are things I agree with, but the problem is that Hester Prynne is never an active character, she is a passive character reacting to events occurring around her, and the moment she tries to actively steer the course of her fate, it’s all ends in tragedy. And yes, some of the reason for that is the position women like her have in society and the time period the novel is set in, but unfortunately this does make the novel pacing drag in places and it is the reason why the resolution of Hester’s character arch is so confusing, or at the least, confusing to me.

~A Product of It’s Time: I understand that, at the time this novel was written, the idea of presenting people who committed adultery as people with thoughts, feelings and that they deserved the chance to redeem themselves and to be happy, you know, humanizing them instead of demonizing them, was a radical idea. But nowadays, adultery isn’t that significant anymore, certainly not to the same extent in my experience and environment (naturally this is going to be different for different people). It serves as a time-capsule of what a select group of people in the USA used to be and how the practise of community scapegoating really doesn’t help society develop better into a more progressive community.

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