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Publisher's Summary

This powerful story of passion, adultery, honor, and repression caused a tremendous controversy in 1850 when it was published, because of its provocative subject matter. Set in Puritan New England, the novel begins with Hester Prynne, a young woman with an illegitimate baby daughter, leaving prison to face her scornful townsfolk. Forced to wear a scarlet letter "A" to remind people of her adultery, Hester obstinately holds her head high and refuses to reveal the father of her child. In the process she cuts herself off from society - and her lover. Why won't Hester reveal her secret? The answer has much to do with guilt, passion, and repentance - timeless themes within a splendid story that has remained a literary classic for over a century.

Public Domain (P)2003 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"A masterpiece." (Henry James)

What listeners say about The Scarlet Letter

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    117
  • 4 Stars
    85
  • 3 Stars
    53
  • 2 Stars
    21
  • 1 Stars
    28
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    105
  • 4 Stars
    78
  • 3 Stars
    32
  • 2 Stars
    15
  • 1 Stars
    19
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    112
  • 4 Stars
    68
  • 3 Stars
    38
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    21

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Unbearable quality recording

This is by far the worst audible program I have purchased. It is a wonderful story; however, this production is utterly unintelligible. I listened to the sample before purchasing the title and thought it was tolerable. It was nearly impossible to understand the narrator much of the time due to the horrible quality. I have purchased other books such as this (originally recorded in 1 and upgraded to 2) and have been able to understand them fine.

The story is wonderful, but utterly not worth trying to wade through this awful recording. At the time I purchased it this was the only unabridged version. I urge you to skip this one and try the other.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Unintelligible

This book is so ridiculously hard to understand in my car that I couldn't listen to it.

7 people found this helpful

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

Still resonates!

Even after a span of 160 years this story by Mr. Hawthorne still captures the essence of human nature with a humor and whit not often displayed in these much later days.

2 people found this helpful

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

The reading of the Scarlet Letter

The story was read thoroughly. The change in the readers voice to signify the different characters was a bit of a distraction.

2 people found this helpful

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

Chapters

The book was narrated very well but the chapters were a bit off and hard to follow.

1 person found this helpful

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

Loved story

However since the original story was written in 1850 it was difficult to understand at times.

1 person found this helpful

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

I loved this book!

I loved the line that talks about “repudiating the phantom of human merit.” So true, and the themes in this book really resonated with me. The recording was pretty good too!

1 person found this helpful

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

Classic Yet Tedious

This story is certainly an American Classic, but I can understand why many highschoolers find this reading to be difficult; the story is easy to understand, but the writing can be hard to read & stay focus.

This audio was well, but the thing that was a little off putting was how the chapters were taken apart. Sometimes the chapters would not be full chapters or a new chapter would start up in the audio chapter. Either than that, the story was alright.

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

If you manage to get through the intro...

The first 8 chapters are the author’s (narrators?) musings on his time working in a counting house and how the scarlet letter itself was found. The story is a good one but that intro could have been cut to 5 minutes imo and been just as effective.

There are some odd blank spaces in the recording as if the engineer spliced in too much space or spliced poorly. Makes you wonder if the book has stopped.

An age old tale that we still see repeated in our modern era...

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

wrong book

I was hoping to enjoy the story of Hester Prynne and her daughter Pearl, however this is not the story presented in this recording