Jim Broadbent was superb for this novel. Right up there with Davina Porter for tempo and pitch. Bravo.
This is one of the most beautiful, unassuming and courageous books I have had the pleasure of reading in a very long time.
Harold Fry is an ordinary man who does not voice his feelings but stoically goes on, whatever life throws at him knowing his wife barely tolerates him and tries to appease her. One day he receives some very distressing news that a colleague and friend from the past is dying with cancer. He decides to send her a note and finding this inadequate a series of events leads to him walking the great distance from one corner of England to the other. This does not dissolve in a Forest Gump fest, although there are echoes, but trudges along at Harold's timbre. Allowing him to learn more and more about himself and the mysterious world around him.
Harold is retired and is wearing every day shoes and sets off in nothing more than one would be wearing for a trip to the shops. But he is armed with determination, self belief and sense of right. On his journey the introvert Harold, who likes to see the best in people but tries to avoid them, meets many different characters,some who bolster and assist him and others who use Harold and his story to further their own ends. But all leave their mark on dear Harold. He brings out the best of the British nation as they unite on his travails.
His journey becomes a pilgrimage and whilst walking, letting going of the trappings of life and just being Harold cleans out the corners of the painful memories that dwell inside along with the happy ones. He begins to reflect and unearths and examines his marriage, his choices and his relationships with his parents, his son and Queenie the woman he is walking to see, hoping his pilgrimage will give her that umpf she needs to hold on because she feels valued. He is repaying what he sees as a debt from the past. As he journeys he reaches his own private watershed and we are allowed to share this with him.
Harold's wife tetchy and cleaning obsessed Maureen also has to examine her own choices and behaviours. She runs the entire gamut of emotions which gets the reader wondering what terrible things Harold may have done and becoming suspicious, against your better judgement, or Harold's motives. Maureen too examines her part in this life of theirs and begins to see another truth emerging and allowing her to be who she really is.
This beautiful tale shows the very best, the very worst and how the ordinary can become most extraordinary. I smiled, I laughed and towards the end where the tale completely unfolds I cried big fat tears of sadness as the secrets were finally spilled. But I also rejoiced at the end.
To find oneself and to love is a joyous thing.
the book caused me to think about life and how we change with experiences
end of book with his wife
no, enjoyed stretching the book over several days to reflect on the events
This was my first audiobook, a gift from a friend who clearly knew what I was missing. Once I was engaged in the storytelling, I hung on for dear life. Jim Broadbent delivered indelible characters and imagery. I cannot fathom what I would have conjured from the words on a page. Listening deeply transforms a story to an experience, and this one was magic.
The straightforward narration, the descriptions of the locations, the lack of pandering to the expected.
His great accents that distinguished the individual characters and put life into each one.
Harold, who goes from a constrained and restricted world view to a broader understanding of himself and his place in the world.
Quirky, heart-warming, poignant
Favorite character was Harold. The unfurling of Harold's realization of his self-limitations, his willingness to challenge his personal status quo and to prick at his comfort zone in order to grow as a human being is what makes this such an interesting and satisfying novel.
When Harold 's wife realized that she was partly responsible for the state of her relationship with Harold and had the courage to change.
touching uplifting revealing
Harold Fry didn't seem to know what he was doing for much of the story, but he stumbled through a life affirming journey as the story revealed itself to be much deeper and more meaningful that one could imagine.
Each of the moments in which Harold relied on the kindness of strangers to help him survive his journey, and in most cases the strangers came through.
The premise was engaging and the main characters really got to me. I found myself very engaged in their struggles and routing for the best outcome for all of them.
Part Odyssey, part Wizard of Oz, part Shantaram, this book was clever, funny and sad all at the same time. Rachel Joyce delved into the joys and tragedies of life and was able to turn phrases with depth. Sometimes I felt as if the author was really on to something, but then she would take off in an entirely different direction and this hurt the flow of the plot. And, as with most of my other critiques, I think the editing could have been tighter. Jim Broadbent was outstanding as the narrator.
I am married ( 26 years and counting!), I have two children a boy 16 and a girl 21. I love reading, gardening, knitting, art! People who say they would be bored when they retire just don't know themselves very well! I, on the other hand can't wait to have the time to do more of the things I truly love! Maybe write a book, a dream I have always had of doing!
Have you ever had one of those days were you just wanted to get in your car and drive away and lose the world and the responsibility and the sameness of everyday? I have, and so did Harold Fry! It is a story of love found, love lost and found again but in a way that was unintended! It is a story of the unfairness of life at times and the surprise kindness we forget we had at others. It is about healing of a soul! Great story, you will feel yourself cheering for Harold and crying for him too! I want to make my own Pilgrimage!
the writing style was so descriptive I felt like I was with Harold on his journey.
Harold, of course. His tenacity- his examination of the life he led- his belief in good.
There is a point in the book that I cannot tell about- it would spoil the story. Let's just say, I have experienced loss- the moment came when I sobbed and could not stop- time stopped for me as I relived the exact moments that Harold and Maureen went through.
Oh, please don't make a movie. The book was so perfect, I am not sure the emotions, Harold's thoughts, Maureen's feelings could be captured without losing a great deal of why Harold did what he did.
The author is to be congratulated- this was one of the most insightful, uplifting but emotional fiction books I have read in some time.