Regular price: $19.95

Membership details Membership details
  • 30 days of membership free, plus 1 audiobook and 2 Audible Originals to get you started.
  • After trial, you'll get 3 titles each month: 1 audiobook and 2 Audible Originals of your choice.
  • Don't like your audiobook? Swap it for free.
  • Cancel anytime and keep your audiobooks.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
  • Get access to the Member Daily Deal
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

One of the most important novels in classic literature, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter tackles the subject of adultery, with the notorious Hester Prynne at the forefront of the scandal in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In the beginning of the novel, Hester is serving time in prison for having a child out of wedlock and is forced to wear a scarlet A on her clothing at all times, so she cannot run from her sin no matter where she goes. Her husband has been away for around two years, and she refuses to name the father of her daughter, Pearl. The father is actually Reverend Dimmesdale, a timid man who keeps his secret from the community.

Hester's husband returns to the colony, where he finds out what has happened and makes it his personal goal to torment the father of Pearl. He discovers that it is Dimmesdale and tries to intimidate him. The pressure becomes too much for Dimmesdale, and after seven years of torture the reverend eventually admits what he has done and dies before a crowd of people. Not long after, Hester's husband also passes away, leaving Hester and her daughter enough money to escape the colony and finally have some peace. At the end, however, Hester decides to come back to the colony, and when she passes away, she is buried next to the reverend, with whom she had been in love.

Public Domain (P)2015 A.R.N. Publications

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    257
  • 4 Stars
    115
  • 3 Stars
    50
  • 2 Stars
    20
  • 1 Stars
    10

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    269
  • 4 Stars
    92
  • 3 Stars
    32
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    11

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    236
  • 4 Stars
    96
  • 3 Stars
    47
  • 2 Stars
    20
  • 1 Stars
    19
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

'Thou Wast Not Bold! Thou Wast Not True!'

This faithful audio version of Hawthorne's timeless classic is by far the best available; Kate Petrie is an excellent narrator and does admirable justice to the novel's gorgeously wrought prose, somber tone and yet hopeful spirit. My only qualms in recommending it as a 5-star performance across the board are minor quibbles with the production (why does the three-minute introduction come at the END of the book?) and the editing (on at least one occasion, Petrie reads the same line twice), although I must admit these to be very minor flaws indeed in a recording so otherwise seamless as to give the impression that the narrator never ceased reading for one moment to draw a deep breath, much less ever stopped for several minutes together to drink a glass of water or stretch her legs.

The English teacher in me must give one final word of warning to the educated, word-loving listener: Just know in advance that there will be a few mispronunciations of individual words, so you won't be unduly startled and dismayed when you hear them. Some may be British pronunciations, but most are clearly actual errors, often of the sort where a syllable is added or deleted. These errors include "GREE-vee-us"/grievous; "con-TIDJ-you-us"/contiguous; "INK-witty"/iniquity; "Er-RUDE-it"/erudite; "uh-TRIB-yutes"/attributes (as in, the attributes of the wearer of the scarlet letter); "ig-NOM-uh-nee"/ignominy; "miss-CHEE-vee-us"/mischievous; "scorge"/scourge; "PURR-pert"/purport; and, perhaps most dismaying, "DIM-mizz-dale"/Dimmesdale.

But don't let that stop you from using a credit on this gorgeous page-turner. Hawthorne, the most anti-religionist of the American Romantics, a man who was haunted and obsessed by the subject of dubious Puritan "morality" due to his ancestor's pivotal and horrific role in the Salem Witch trials, here weaves such a spellbinding and suspenseful tale that it can't possibly be tarnished by a few minor mispronunciations.

Thank you, thank you, Audible, for this thoroughly engrossing, lovingly embroidered audio experience of one of the finest works of American literature. Grade: scarlet A-plus.

39 of 46 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting and Great For Literary Examination

The story is very wealthy in literary themes and would be fairly easy to write essays on. The Narrator is pleasant and portrays several voices very well. The story is interesting and also not too terribly long. My only distaste is Hawthorne's "try-hard" diction and excessive flowering in scene description.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

lovely story and telling

A crime of adultery and such an excavation of the affected souls that Dostoevsky might have been inspired. The narrator's lovely voice burnishes the narration and brings to life the characters.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Timeless

Wonderfully narrated. It is the message, wrapped in Hawthorne's succinctly insightful and luxurious Victorian prose, that lays bare the torture of ignominy and isolation imposed by the most misguided practice of religions, that seeks to either challenge the readers' unenlightened tribal instincts to at last bathe their collective conscience and live henceforth in the promise and hope of redemption or to rejoice in gratitude that we now live in a time where we may enjoy this option.

Hester's only option was to live defamed, ostracized by her peers or to escape. First mentally and then physically. Forgiveness was not to be a comfort afforded her by others but gained by her own daring thoughts.... to arrive at her own redemption.


9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Quite the take on sexual immorality

The narrator did well. The story was quite an adventure. 10 out of 10 would read again.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

For the Narrator

Fantastic voices for the different characters. especially pearl. made me be able to imagine a little girl right at her mother's feet and begging her for something.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully narrated

I loved the story. The narrator brought it to life for me. I have attempted to read to book several times but had a hard time with the language--this was a much better alternative--very easy to understand.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Surprisingly entrancing

I truly wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book, but in preparing to teach it, I listened to it in chunks to reinforce the reading. Petrie’s tone is dry, but it works for Hawthorne’s style. His work here is filled with symbolism and strict moralism of the 1600s as viewed through the lens of the 19th century. Many of his lessons are still applicable today, and I would encourage people to listen, if not for the story, then for the drama inherent in its telling.

Listening to his work is much easier than reading it by far.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book, disappointing narrator

This is an all-time great book; enough said about that.

But there are many versions and I’m inclined to think there must be a better one. I listened to various samples and chose this one because the voice was so pleasant. But she has an inexplicable tendency to put the emphasis on the wrong syllable of some words, and I found it very distracting. Every time she said igNOMiny, PURport, or ANalogy, it took me out of the book as surely as cold water in the face takes one out of a daydream. (And she said igNOMiny a lot, as you might guess if you know the story.)

In addition, this is a book in which the dialogue is sparse but meaningful, and a better narrator would make some attempt to render those lines more like they would be spoken by someone actually experiencing the emotions appropriate to the scene. This narrator mostly just reads them.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

nice narrator, still a bad book tho

Nathaniel Hawthorne is the type of student to stretch out ideas to meet the word minimum.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 03-24-18

Like listening to a computer talk

No pauses at all in this recording. All in the one monotone voice. Hard to pick up words. Go for a different version.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-23-16

Revuew

Excellent narrator.
The book itself was very wordy. But was nevertheless enjoyable. A book of its time.