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Summary

The first book written by C.S. Lewis after his conversion, The Pilgrim's Regress is, in a sense, a record of Lewis's own search for meaning and spiritual satisfaction that eventually led him to Christianity.

It is the story of John and his odyssey to an enchanting island that has created in him an intense longing, a mysterious, sweet desire. John's pursuit of this desire takes him through adventures with such people as Mr. Enlightenment, Media Halfways, Mr. Mammon, Mother Kirk, Mr. Sensible, and Mr. Humanist, and through such cities as Thrill and Eschropolis, as well as the Valley of Humiliation.

Though the dragons and giants here are different from those in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Lewis's allegory performs the same function of enabling the author to say with fantasy and simplicity what would otherwise have demanded a full-length philosophy of religion. In Lewis's skillful hands this fable becomes as effective a Christian apologia as Bunyan's.

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©1933 Clive Staples Lewis (P)2000 Blackstone Audiobooks

What listeners say about The Pilgrim's Regress

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent choice.

Brilliant and captivating reading of this essential book. I didn't want to stop listening. Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Fascinating.... but not an easy listen

I don't think this has aged as well as most of Lewis' books. The reader does a great job and it's never less then fascinating, but at several times the many alagories feel a little to obscure to modern ears. We are no doubt worse educated in classics now then the average reader in the 1930's, leaving a modern listener at a massive disadvantage when it comes to disciphering what the many meaning ladden classical names and images represent. Or maybe the Oxford don in Lewis got a little carried away here, I found it hard to tell. This is a very interesting book but I can't really recommend it to anyone but Lewis fans and greek geeks.

4 people found this helpful

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Typical Lewis

I thoroughly enjoyed the listen. Great narration and story telling. Thought provoking too. I found listening at a speed of x75 was helpful.

1 person found this helpful

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amazing book

This book was an unexpected jewel. I had not really heard of it before, but was very pleasantly surprised and would rate it as one of my top 20 all time favorites.

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Worth listening to, the "afterward" is necessary

I found this generally uncomfortable and disturbing - I think that is a good thing. Beyond that I found that the "afterward" by CSL was helpful in interpretation.

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What a corker of a book!

Lewis at his allegorical best. A real joy to listen to, which has left lots to ponder on.

I particularly enjoyed the Mother Kirk character. She would have been a valuable inclusion in another book about a Pilgrim that was written some years before this one...

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just wow

I honestly struggled to finish this sexualising of black people. he added to the black girl fetish definitely on this one. I don't blame him as it was the normin his time, but I do think this could have been left in the archives.

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The Pilgrims Regress

I disliked the fact that You needed to be familiar with Pilgrims Progress to appreciate the allegory and I was not. Also the disasters hero fell into were too gross to bear. The reader was too bland.

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Heavy and Hard to Follow

I start this review with a caveat: I'm not a fan of Fantasy literature and I always struggle to 'get' it. So, if you love and understand Fantasy fiction, don't read this review any further!

However if, like me, you can't get your head around the fantasy format, I'm here to tell you that this is far 'heavier' than most! I couldn't relate to most of the allegory. Each scenario was baffling to me! I truly didn't understand what each person represented. Not even Virtue! Only the old nomad, History, made any sense to me! As for Mother Kirk… I have NO IDEA WHO she is supposed to be!!! The Holy Spirit???

I also struggled with John Bunyan's Pilgrim, but not because I didn't understand the allegory, I just found it boring, tedious and 'worthy'! I enjoy all of the C. S. Lewis' Apologetics books that I've read (I've only read the 1st Narnia & didn't realise that it too was an allegorical fantasy novel), and thoroughly enjoyed them all. So I was expecting to really enjoy this. Instead I 'endured' it, hoping that the narrative would 'pick up'. For me, it didn't. It was 'interesting', but in a, "I can take it or leave it" fashion.

I wouldn't, not recommend it; but I couldn't wholeheartedly endorse it either! Play a sample first and see if it grabs you. Don't make this your introduction to Lewis if you've never read him before - unless you really do 'get' allegorical fantasy. Otherwise, start with The Screwtape Letters! That one is funny! This one is heavy!

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  • James
  • 11-02-18

Lewis At His Most Cutting. Great SBJ Companion.

Any additional comments?

Lewis's first Christian allegory, and he comes out with six-guns blazing. It's a no-holds-barred attack on the foolishness he has just left behind to become a Christian. Lewis readers know that he is normally very measured and even gentle in his arguments against opposing world views. But this is a young, just-converted, seeker still in his pre-conversion sharp tongued habits of expression. To me, it is refreshing, but I'm also glad he became less acerbic as he went.If you read Surprised By Joy first, you will practically have a key to the allegory. Pilgrim's Regress is largely a poetic expression of the reactions against certain world views that he recounted decades later in SBJ. If you've also read Screwtape Letters, all the better. I'd never recommend The Pilgrim's Regress to anyone who isn't already a few books into CSL. But for the initiated, it's a helluva ride. Perhaps it fails as an allegory by Lewis's own high standards, but I was "picking up what he was putting down" at almost every turn. Again, largely because I was already familiar with the ideas from his other books. There's a lot - a LOT - of treasure in this work. If the book fails, it's because the reader has to work too hard to dig out the treasure. But still ... the treasure is there and it's unique. So get to digging!

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Shawn
  • 06-09-06

Profound and Life Changing

I listen to this three time in a row.
It has so much depth and so many layers that reveal so much profound truths about being human, the spiritual part of being human and the nature of God. It is amazing how CS Lewis accurately captures the nature of different social beliefs and then reveals their fallacies in comparison to the spiritual truth of God’s Kingdom. It is a treasure map that takes the reader on a search of gold nuggets of truths and insights. They are hidden everywhere throughout the book and many of them can only be found by re-reading (or listening) to it again and again.

42 people found this helpful

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  • Rafael
  • 01-01-16

Great book!!

The narrator is incredibly good! C.S. Lewis begins very well his fiction but the book ends with rather misterious questions unanswered. The reading is incredibly rewarding and his work here is unparalleled. Totally distinct from John Bunyan's classic, but equally relevant. I believe that, in a sense, one completes the other. Buy it and listen!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephen
  • 13-02-07

Great Book...Hang in there

This book alows the listener to refect on his or her own path to salvation. The longer you listen to the book the more you enjoy it so stay tuned. The reader did a wonderful job with narration and the different character roles.

21 people found this helpful

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  • DanJ
  • 05-10-14

Great short story

What did you like best about this story?

It is a much more modern way of looking at our walk with God than the pilgrims progress and you don't need to know old English to understand the conversation

4 people found this helpful

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  • david
  • 20-12-12

Why havent I read this sooner

What did you love best about The Pilgrim's Regress?

I went through the book two and half times in one week.... If you like CS Lewis... try it out

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • kathleen
  • 29-09-15

Not an Easy Book

It is an interesting story, but not always easy to understand. Sometimes I felt I needed a translator.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kevin
  • 19-05-11

Great book!

This is my favorite book by C.S. Lewis. I thought Simon Vance does a great job of narrating as well!

7 people found this helpful

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  • justkeepswimming
  • 04-05-19

Moving

I love to read Lewis and own both the Audible and Kindle versions of The Pilgrim’s Regress. For some reason, I notice different things when I read than when I listen to books. In general, I tend to enjoy and understand books better when I listen to them. This book is no exception. The narrator does a great job of intoning meaning even if the listener is not familiar with the many philosophical schools of thought which are represented in this book. Much of the story is told by dialogue so a good rendering is absolutely necessary if the listener is to understand the author’s meaning. This narrator is a pleasure to listen to.

Though I am not completely familiar with the philosophies discussed in the book, I was still able to understand the ideas discussed and see likenesses between popular ideas in our own time. What comes through clearly is the struggle each person has to understand himself and the world around and how unsatisfying and destructive the pursuits and pleasures of this world can be without an eternal perspective and Landlord.

The book does tell a not sentimental story, but it presents instead a cerebral critique of ideas while still managing to stir some deep emotions as listener identifies with the vapidity of his own attempts to fulfill that longing. Of particular poignancy to me was the song History sings as John falls asleep. The poem prayer shows our indifference to God but His continued pursuit of us.

I gave it four stars all around because the details of the philosophies are rather obscure to many people. A few times, the narrator intones the wrong personality during the dialogue. This happened rarely but still made it a bit confusing to know who was talking. It is still a very enjoyable and thought provoking listen.

This book does present situations that are more for older teens and adults and not just because of the heady philosophies, but nothing is explicit. Modern fiction authors often lack tact and the art of subtlety; in fact, many seem to lack art altogether in favor of crudeness and explicitness leaving little for the imagination. Though Lewis deals with vice and violence, his approach to it is more thought provoking BECAUSE of its symbolic nature. One does not have to be explicit to convey meaning.

Thank you, Audible, for snapping up many Recorded Books which I borrowed from the library years ago. It was a great listen.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Hharney
  • 20-02-19

A wonderful complex journey to find joy

Lewis's allegorical self journey, reminiscent of Pilgrim's Progress, is a fantastically imaginative quest to find unending joy. This pursuit stayed with Lewis from childhood and into the last years of his life.
I would recommend not speeding this up unless you find yourself able to comprehend the complex prose and philosophical debates within this tale.
There are moments within this book that will stay with you long after you finish the story.

2 people found this helpful