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The Canterbury Tales: A Retelling Audiobook, by Geoffrey Chaucer Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Geoffrey Chaucer, Peter Ackroyd Narrator: Bianca Amato, Colin McPhillamy, Davina Porter, Graeme Malcolm, John Curless, John Keating, Ron Keith, Steven Crossley, Toby Leonard Moore, Tim Reynolds, various narrators Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2018 ISBN: 9781449843618
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (762 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Author Peter Ackroyd has won the Somerset Maugham Award, the Whitbread Novel of the Year, and the Guardian Fiction Prize, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Based on Geoffrey Chaucer's immortal work, this retelling of The Canterbury Tales follows a party of travelers as they tell stories amongst themselves about love and chivalry, saints and legends, travel and adventure. Through allegory, satire, and humor, the tales help pass the time during their journey. Download and start listening now!

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 2/16/2014

    " The best version/translation of Chaucer I've ever read...it flows smoothly, and keeps the flavour of the period...get it for your shelf, read a chapter, then put it back on the shelf and savor the moment... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karen | 2/10/2014

    " I should probably give this 4 stars for its historical importance, but I just didn't like Chaucer's focus on women's infidelity. Yes, Chaucer delivers a variety of tales delivered by people from a several walks of life. However, the women were portrayed as unfaithful, greedy liars (with the exception of a couple of tales of female saints). I should probably work harder to understand the portrayal of women in the historical context, but I was mainly annoyed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 2/7/2014

    " I find it very hard to believe that this book is read in colleges and high schools considering how it is full of pornography. I did check the original as I read this translation (Ackroyd calls it a re telling, but it is pretty close to the original.)and sure enough it is in the original. Well to all those high schoolers that had to read this in school, go back and read the original, you won't be sorry. The church and knights come off badly, no one trusts their wives and why would they when they considered them a part of their property. The custom of courtly love is evidenced here, as is the frequent straying that went on with this practice. This is well worth seeking out to see what kind of life was lived then,and how ours really isn't that much different. The church is still full of controversy, and very few marriages last longer than a few years. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 1/23/2014

    " Picked this copy of the Canterbury Tales up to get at the stories, which it does quite adequately, but it is done in prose and so something of this classic is lost. I will take the time with the poetry. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alex | 1/21/2014

    " If this helps to introduce more people to Chaucer, that's fine. But you really don't have to be Peter Ackroyd to concoct a "Chaucer for Dummies" book like this one. Yes, it's an easy read - so is anything written in short, simple sentences. But it's missing both the music of Chaucer's verse and the elegance of Ackroyd's prose. Were it not for the indiscriminate use of modern english profanities, this'd be a great present for a fifth-grader - it's that kind of "readable book". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 1/15/2014

    " I had to study the Prologue from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales more than 40 years ago when I was doing A Level English. It was somewhat frustrating, because it would have been interesting to have been able to read and study the rest of the stories in the cycle. With this book, Peter Ackroyd translates the stories (they are in Early English, which is virtually imposssible to read and understand if you have no background or some knowledge of this.) There are verse translations, for example, the famous Neville Coghill version (which, if my memory serves me.) we used at college. But this new version puts the stories into prose, and Ackroyd presents the stories in short-story form, thus making them more accessable to all. He does a remarkable job of it and I can highly recommend this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robin | 1/15/2014

    " If I had actually understood this in high school I would have liked it. It took me 30 more years until I picked it up again, only because it was in modern English. What a delightful (and raunchy) bunch of characters! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne | 1/14/2014

    " This retelling of Chaucer's famous work is a joy to read. I have never tried to read the original piece, but imagine it's as funny, dirty and seedy as this work. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katie | 1/12/2014

    " Mr. Ackroyd did a very good job translating the story. It was very easy to read and I understood exactly what was happening. However, I'm not a big fan of the Tales themselves. Some of them were boring, others had graphic sex scenes, and a couple were just plain strange. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen | 12/7/2013

    " A retelling in modern language and format that has made Chaucer's classic even ruder than when you don't know the exact meanings of the original! An enthralling insight into Medieval thought and morality. I really enjoy Mr. Ackroyd's books and he hasn't let me down with this one either. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachel | 11/22/2013

    " I hate Chaucer, but I gave this edition three stars. It's a good retelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leigh-ann | 10/23/2013

    " What a fabulous surprise this book has been! I picked it up from the "New Releases" section at the library on a whim, not knowing whether or not I'd actually read it, but knowing I was never exposed to Chaucer's original in college. I'm loving it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 9/15/2013

    " Really brings the Canterbury Tales to life in a way that refuses to let you look the other way and pretend it's not a dirty, dirty book. :) Until I read this version I didn't realize I liked Chaucer... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jaylia3 | 7/15/2013

    " A fun new edition of one of my favorite books. Reading this translation (retelling) I kept feeling I was reading about people I already knew--the pilgrims sound and act like people you might meet on the street. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 11/15/2012

    " Several times while reading this I asked myself if the stories would be worthwhile without their literary historical context. Yes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Meg | 10/24/2012

    " It was so fun reading this book! I'd picked this up last Christmas at home (my dad's copy). I remember reading some of these stories in an illustrated children's book, so it was fun reading the adult version. :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alice | 7/29/2012

    " A fabulous re-telling, faithful and enjoyable. A Canterbury Tales for everyone, not just English majors. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kirsti | 2/14/2012

    " Absolutely loved this retelling. A good way to fully understand the tales. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cathy | 11/23/2011

    " I'm glad I finally read some version of the Canterbury Tales but I didn't think this was particulary well written or interesting. "

About the Author

Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343–1400), English poet, was the son of a London vintner. He was married and held a number of positions at court and in the king’s service, including diplomat, controller of customs in the port of London, and deputy forester in the King’s Forest in Somerset. He was buried in the Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey where a monument was erected to him in 1555.

About the Narrators

Bianca Amato, winner of numerous Earphones Awards and the Audie Award for best narration, is an actress born and raised in South Africa. Trained at the University of Cape Town’s Drama school, she went on to work in theater and television in South Africa before moving to New York in 2002.

Colin McPhillamy was born in London to Australian parents and now lives in New York. He trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama. His first job as a professional actor was at the remote Little Theatre on the Isle of Mull where he performed a solo version of Henry V playing some 40,000 parts, including both the French and English armies. He wrote an account of this experience, and it was broadcast on BBC Radio.

Davina Porter has been enthralling listeners for over twenty-five years with her ability to mine the psychological depths of the characters she reads and bring them convincingly to life. In 2006, she won the prestigious Audie Award for Best Female Narration and in 2004 for Best Inspirational Literature Narration. She has been honored as an AudioFile Golden Voice and has won nineteen AudioFile Earphones Awards. As an actress, she has appeared on stage at the Vineyard Playhouse and the Square One Theater, among others.

Graeme Malcolm is an actor and Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator. He has performed on Broadway as Pharaoh in Aida and as Sir Edward Ramsay in The King and I. His television appearances include Law & Order, Follow the River, and Mr. Halpern and Mr. Johnson (with Laurence Olivier). His film credits include A Further Gesture, The Adventures of Sebastian Cole, and Reunion.

John Curless is a theater, film, and television actor. He has appeared on Broadway in Journeys End, The Sound of Music, and The King and I and off-Broadway in Passion Play, Comic Potential, and The Entertainer. His film and television credits include Vibrations, Ed, and NYPD Blue. His audiobook narrations have been awarded two AudioFile Earphones Awards.

John Keating is an actor, voice talent, and AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator. His numerous acting credits include Roundabout Theatre’s production of Juno and the Paycock and La Mama ETC’s production of Cat and the Moon, as well as various parts with the Irish Repertory Theater and the Irish Arts Center. He can also be seen in the HBO miniseries John Adams, starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney.

Peter Robinson is the author of the award-winning Inspector Banks novels, among them a Best Book of the Year from Publishers Weekly, a New York Times Notable Book, and a Page Turner of the Week from People. His novels have reached #1 on the London Sunday Times bestsellers list and hit the New York Times expanded list of bestsellers. His books have won numerous awards, including the Anthony, Barry, Macavity, Martin Beck, and Arthur Ellis awards, among others.

Steven Crossley, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, has built a career on both sides of the Atlantic as an actor and audiobook narrator, for which he has won more than a dozen AudioFile Earphones Awards and been a nominee for the prestigious Audie Award. He is a member of the internationally renowned theater company Complicite and has appeared in numerous theater, television, film, and radio dramas.

Toby Leonard has worked extensively as a television, film, and voice actor. His acting credits include several appearances on the television series Underbelly and The Pacific, as well as the voice of Richard in the video Mortal Kombat: Rebirth

Tim Reynolds trained for the stage at the Samuel Beckett Center at Trinity College in Dublin and the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in New London, Connecticut. Tim has become an established audiobook narrator. Titles include The Legend of Broken by Caleb Carr, The Heather Blazing by Colm Tóibín, The Infernals by John Connolly, the latter half of Hugh Howey’s epic Sci-Fi series Wool, and Michael J. Sullivan’s bestselling Riyria Revelations. In 2010, he received an Audiofile Earphone award for the thriller Faithful Place by Tana French. In 2013, he was nominated for an Audie Award for work in the Fantasy genre.

J. D. Jackson is a theater professor, aspiring stage director, and award-winning audiobook narrator. He is a classically trained actor, and his television and film credits include roles on House, ER, Law & Order, Hack, Sherrybaby, Diary of a City Priest, and Lucky Number Slevin. He is the recipient of more than a dozen Earphones Awards for narration and an Odyssey Honor for G. Neri’s Ghetto Cowboy, and he was also named one of AudioFile magazine’s Best Voices of the Year for 2012 and 2013. An adjunct professor at Los Angeles Southwest College, he has an MFA in theater from Temple University.