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Publisher's Summary

A motley group of travellers meet at a London inn on their way to Canterbury, where they agree to take part in a storytelling competition. As they make their way on the road, they drink, laugh, flirt, argue, interrupt and try to outdo each other with their tales. Funny, moving, outrageous and life-affirming, the 24 stories here blend comedy and tragedy, heroic adventure, high romance and salacious humour.

Peter Ackroyd's fresh, modern retelling infuses The Canterbury Tales with new and vigorous life. Here are the best stories ever told, reborn for a new generation.

©2009 Peter Ackroyd (P)2009 Isis Publishing Ltd

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ms. C. T. Bell
  • 10-06-13

What a revelation!

Now I know why this has survived so many centuries. The version I was taught at school was entirely devoid of spirit, interest and life - they should be teaching this version instead! The intro was excellent giving a background to the language, Chaucer and life at the time. The sample provided by Audible was the intro - I took a chance that when it got to the tales it would not be incomprehensible and indeed it wasn't - instead the material came to life as never before. You just need to get throught the Knight's tale which was just a boring as could be - but it's worth it to get to the Wife of Bath (which was laugh out loud funny - she's my new hero!) and many of the others.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Isabelle
  • 04-09-15

Good performance, disappointing translation

The readers here are excellent, and the stories entertaining, but the more unusual choices in the translation prove gimmicky and distracting rather than revealing. The few glimpses into the original that are provided make you wish versification had been kept.
The translator explains his choices (no verse, plenty of f-words) as an attempt to woo the modern reader, but his assumption that a modern reader cannot enjoy verse, and requires innuendoes to be turned into explicit swear-words feels patronising, and doesn't really add anything to the text.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Vanessa Barrett
  • 12-05-14

Superb re-telling of a timeless classic

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have both read and listened to the stories from The Canterbury Tales several times, but I found Peter Ackroyd's version one of the most enjoyable.

What other book might you compare The Canterbury Tales to, and why?

I don't think there's another that comes close! For all our present-day enjoyment of historical novels, the medieval mindset which is expressed in the original can never be captured by the modern author.

Have you listened to any of Seán Barrett and Anita Wright ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I'm not sure, but I really like the interplay between the male and female story-tellers.

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

It is too long for one sitting, but the individual stories make for easy breaks .... even though I always wanted to get on to the next one!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gregory
  • 08-03-13

accessible delight

Would you consider the audio edition of The Canterbury Tales to be better than the print version?

i never read the print version.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The stories are all very good, even if themes are somewhat repetative.

Any additional comments?

I came to the book via Pasolinis wonderful film version (in my top 20 films ever, alongside at least 2 other pasolini films)...this was accessible and easy to follow, which i suspect the original might not be for me, a good job done by ackroyd, whom will help keep these tales alive for new generations.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Henna
  • 04-29-16

Classic but not for me

I enjoyed some of the stories but some were long-winded and others just too cruel.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Andy
  • 10-18-15

Ye Olde One Track Minde

I haven't read the original and I thought that this looked like and accessible way of plugging a gap in my education - this tomb being purportedly the first of it's kind and written in plain english.... it popped up on a 2 for 1 and being inquisitive I forgot all about curiosity boring the cat and here I was.

It seems to have a main theme of chastity running through it wasn't long before the ooh errs turned into - oh not agains... I kept giving it the benefit of the doubt though eventually I just had to give up on it. I'd say that the narration was nicely paced and timbre of the voice was good.

Unless you really need this for research then give it a miss - the stories have little to entertain and provide little insight into the period... If this is anything to go on then no wonder shakespear became so popular.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful