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Official Review: The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johnston

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Official Review: The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johnston

Post Number:#1 by bookowlie
» 28 Oct 2017, 11:11

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Canterbury Hall Tales" by Bert Johnston.]

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4 out of 4 stars
Review by bookowlie
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The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johnston is a collection of fifteen short stories written in traditional verse. It was inspired by William Chaucer’s classic, The Canterbury Tales. The book can be categorized in General Fiction. Although the stories are set in present day, they are written in the style of the fourteenth century. At Canterbury Hall, a group of elderly residents sit around a table on Sunday evenings and tell each other one tale per week. These gatherings are known as “Sunday Night Table.” In the process of telling these tales, the storytellers often reveal information about themselves.

I thoroughly enjoyed this creatively written book. When I read the Amazon summary, I wondered if the language in the tales would be difficult to understand. Fortunately, the author does a wonderful job of crafting contemporary, easy to understand stories while keeping the flavor of the language from the 14th century. The overall effect is a group of engrossing, character-driven tales that are a unique blend of Old English style and present-day characters and situations.

Each story centers on a character (or characters) in a specific situation. “The Accountant’s Tale” is about a man who attends his class reunion, intent on revenge. In “The Parson’s Wife: Siblings,” three brothers and a sister take various paths in life, including Alan whose dreams are put on hold due to family circumstances. One of the elderly storytellers, “The Peddler,” used to be a successful travelling salesman before retiring and chasing the ladies at Canterbury Hall. Although the other residents revile him, Pete still appears at “Sunday Night Table” to spin a yarn about a drunken college man’s experience. Although all of the tales are absorbing, my favorite is “The Accountant’s Wife’s Tale: The Cosmetic Queen.” Maxine and her husband Mort are very relatable and the plot contains a few interesting twists.

The characters are vividly described and I felt like I was right there in the middle of the action. I found this an amazing accomplishment by the author, considering he also adhered to a consistent rhyme structure and 14th century writing style. While the tales appear effortlessly told, I am absolutely sure there was painstaking work involved to achieve this result. There are two typos in the latter part of the book; these errors are surprising since the rest of the book appears to be professionally edited.

I give this book the highest rating, 4 out of 4 stars. The tales are something to savor while curling up on the sofa with a hot cup of tea. I would recommend this collection to readers who love Chaucer, character-driven stories, and really anyone who appreciates excellent writing.

******
The Canterbury Hall Tales
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Re: Official Review: The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johns

Post Number:#2 by gali
» 28 Oct 2017, 23:26

Sounds like a great collection of tales. It is great the author managed to write easy to understand stories while keeping the flavor of the old language. Thank you for the great review!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)
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Re: Official Review: The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johns

Post Number:#3 by bookowlie
» 28 Oct 2017, 23:34

Thanks Gali! I chose the book because the concept sounds interesting and it was even better than i expected. :)
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Re: Official Review: The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johns

Post Number:#4 by MsTri
» 28 Oct 2017, 23:42

Thanks for the splendid review! Sounds like an interesting read and I'm glad the 14th century writing style wasn't a hindrance. I'll have to check it out.
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Re: Official Review: The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johns

Post Number:#5 by bookowlie
» 28 Oct 2017, 23:53

Thanks MsTri! It was such a nice mix of old style and contemporary themes.
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Re: Official Review: The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johns

Post Number:#6 by Quinto
» 29 Oct 2017, 08:42

Great review. The tales appear very engrossing and told among friends. I would like to explore the book, so i'll put it in my to read list.
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Re: Official Review: The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johns

Post Number:#7 by Kat Berg
» 29 Oct 2017, 09:39

This book sounds good. I am not always a fan of short stories, but when they are done well, they can be amazing. Great review!
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Re: Official Review: The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johns

Post Number:#8 by kislany
» 29 Oct 2017, 09:44

I generally don't like poems (weird, I know) and I'd be really afraid to pick up a book that is written in the style of the fourteenth century. You've been way braver than I'd be :) Great review, it was fun to read!
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Re: Official Review: The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johns

Post Number:#9 by Gingerbo0ks
» 29 Oct 2017, 12:44

I enjoyed Chaucer at school, so I've enjoyed looking at your review. It sounds like the author has pulled off the language really well... it's not easy!
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Re: Official Review: The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johns

Post Number:#10 by kandscreeley
» 29 Oct 2017, 14:20

I also enjoyed the Canterbury tales in school. This sounds like it is a great nod to Chaucer. I'll have to look into this. It seems fun.
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Re: Official Review: The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johns

Post Number:#11 by Kalin Adi
» 29 Oct 2017, 20:10

I'm going to prepare my lemon grass tea before reading this collection of tales. They sound worth reading because of the mix of old language and the setting in present day. Thanks for the great review!
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Re: Official Review: The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johns

Post Number:#12 by CatInTheHat
» 29 Oct 2017, 21:12

I enjoyed the original Chaucer tales, and have actually run a lit group for high schoolers based on them. This sounds like a book that is right up my alley!
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Re: Official Review: The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johns

Post Number:#13 by Miss ejay
» 30 Oct 2017, 05:19

Great review. Sounds like and interesting collection of tales and worth reading.
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Re: Official Review: The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johns

Post Number:#14 by Mercy Bolo
» 30 Oct 2017, 05:48

A collection of tales from different people; sounds interesting. I like stories that are well written and easy to follow but since I think I would have trouble reading the 14th century writing style, I'll pass on this.
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Re: Official Review: The Canterbury Hall Tales by Bert Johns

Post Number:#15 by Steph K
» 30 Oct 2017, 10:12

I'll have to check this out. I'm glad you said the fourteenth century language wasn't too incomprehensible, otherwise I probably wouldn't be brave enough to try it!
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