When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof, or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking - to save someone else's life.
Jim Broadbent has starred in a huge range of films, from British favourites including Bridget Jones and Hot Fuzz, to Hollywood blockbusters such as Moulin Rouge, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and the Harry Potter films. In 2001 he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Iris. Most recently he starred as Denis Thatcher opposite Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady.
©2012 Rachel Joyce (P)2012 Random House AudioGo
“From the moment I met Harold Fry, I didn't want to leave him. Impossible to put down.” (Erica Wagner, The Times)
“Harold Fry is infuriating, hilarious and completely out of his depth, but I held my breath at his every blister and cramp and, felt, as if by turning the pages, I might help his impossible quest succeed. Marvellous!” (Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand)
“A magical, moving and uplifting tale about a man's journey across Britain and into his own heart.” (Deborah Moggach)
“I loved this book. I loved its purity, its brutality and unerring honesty. I don't think I have read such richly composed metaphors before. They are like shooting stars glittering across each page. I can't believe this is her first novel- I wait with bated breath for her next.” (Natascha McElhone)
“The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry isn’t just a book I enjoyed reading, it’s a book I feel lucky to have read. It takes the most ordinary and unassuming of men and turns him into a hero for us all. Harold Fry faces the same questions we all do as we age, questions about the meaning of our lives, faith and love, but confronts them in a most surprising way. To go on this journey with him will not only break your heart, it might also just heal it.” (Tiffany Baker, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County)
“Late last year the time came to pick 2012’s ‘new face’ for books: I read a pile of first novels and enjoyed a few, but there was only one I adored, and that was The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry… It is a funny book, a wise book, a charming book – but never cloying. It’s a book with a savage twist, - and yet never seems manipulative. Perhaps, because Harold himself is just wonderful… This book may follow a pattern set by another radio dramatist-turned-novelist, David Nicholls, whose One Day has now sold more than a million copies and been made into a successful film simply because one reader said to another ‘I love this book’ over and over again. So I’m telling you now: I love this book…From the moment I met Harold Fry, I didn't want to leave him. Impossible to put down.” (Erica Wagner, The Times)
“Distinguished by remarkable confidence... Polished to perfection... Joyce's experience as a playwright shows in her ear for dialogue and eye for character diatom - even the walk-on parts stay with you as real people. She handles her material with deceptive lightness but Harold's journey towards a better version of himself is totemic. To read about him is to be moved to follow him.” (The Telegraph)
“This book is like a naive painting: simple and profound. It is a moving story, full of heart, laced through with wry wit. I loved Harold and Maureen and their separate journeys. It felt like a celebration of being alive, being human. Beautiful!” (Niamh Cusack)
“Life-affirming delight. A comic pleasure.” (Woman and Home)
“A tender, funny debut about second chances and regained love as a man takes to the road on an unusual quest.” (Marie Claire)
“The odyssey of a simple man, original, subtle and touching.” (Claire Tomalin)
“A wonderful book ... Full of sadness, hope, and ultimately love. I found it very moving.” (Esther Freud)
“Harold's unlikely pilgrimage takes him the length of the country - and into the deepest parts of himself. This beautifully written tale is by turns funny, touching, farcical and heroic. A very unusual and uplifting debut.” (Isabel Wolff)
“A delightfully original and engaging debut.” (Rebecca Frayn)
“Really enjoyable ... by turns moving, charming and very funny.” (Hugh Dennis)
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"The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry"
Jim Broadbent's reading was excellent. Perfect for Harold. I found it a real 'life journey' and travelled with Harold step by step and mile by mile. I LOVED listening to this and looked forward to my daily travelling to and from work time so I could listen to the next installment.
What a wonderfully different story this is. I guess many of us would like to be a brave as Harold Fry. It's easy reading and gently excellent.
"A Gentle Pleasure"
I bought this book because I like Jim Broadbent and both he and the book exceeded expectations.
Once I started I had to continue til finished. There were no major ups or downs just a gentle passage through a journey in a retired mans life. Each incident in his journey was a little story on its own. Jim Broadbent was Harold Fry to a T and his voice was so easy on the ear.
A really delightful (such an old fashioned word but appropriate!) book that makes me smile as I remember it!!!
"Wonderful and delightful"
This is a gentle and inspiring book made all the more plausible by the naration by Jim Broadbent.
The characters and their innermost feeling are gradually shown in a kind but melancholy way, where you feel more tender towards them. It also shows the inner courage and the sadness they carry through their lives which they have not confronted but which has shapes their characters.
It is extremely well written so that you feel the all the characters are alive and vibrant in so many different ways.
There are humorous moments as we all experience in our lives and it is a delight to listen to, so that you feel you are cheering on Harold Fry and wishing you had the courage to take on such a personal quest yourself.
An absolutely delightful listen.
"An adventure of feelings"
The story starts quite slowly and I did wonder if I was going to complete the book. But it starts to give you little snippets of the real reason he is making the journey so it keeps you wanting more. I cried at the end as it all came together, the reasons, the longings and the hidden feelings they both have. Read it and see for yourself.
"An unlikely hit!"
Didn't know whether to take a punt on this one or not - but the reviews seemed relentlessly positive so I did...and I certainly agree with all the hype. Though the symbolism is occasionally rather forced - it may seem a little more laboured due to the nature of an audio book and the emphasis given to it by the narrator - the voice of Jim Broadbent alone makes this worth listening to. He invests the protagonist with such sympathy that you almost feel like cheering him on through the impossible chore of the walk ahead of him. The narrative hook of the hidden connection between Harold and his quest gives an added dimension for the listener to hang on for and the characterisation is deftly handled by the author. Well worth that punt after all!
"Lump in my throat"
I do cry, but not that often, I did here, a beautifully told story and so deft in its touch, wonderful.
"Is there an award for narration?"
Jim Broadbent made this quite simply the best audiobook I have ever listened to. And there has been a considerable number! But even he couldn't have made something quite so sublime without Rachel Joyce's raw material. A beautiful book, beautifully read.
Amazing book, journey into regrets, aging and redemption without being morbid. Very funny and witty. Well written and great narration.
Lovely book. Fun, gentle and thought provoking. So well written you have to find out what happens next to Harold on his journey. All enhanced by Jim Broadbent's wonderful voice.
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