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)
This is a wonderful story of a personal journey of discovery for Harold Fry. Poor Harold initially appears terribly mundane and the story is a little slow to start. However, the slow start is deliberate. Each step of his journey we learn more and more of the personal side of Harold as he reflects on his life; of mistakes, missed opportunities, and regrets. The gradual unveiling is masterfully handled by the author, leading up to the terrible tradegy near the end. The descriptions of the countryside he passes are detailed and colourful, the characters he meets are varied, rich, and entertaining. Although we learn of a terrible tradegy near the end which puts the whole story in a completely new perspective the end note is very positive, reminding the reader of the power of resiliency. This story made me laugh and cry and made me reflect on my own life journey, of regrets, and missed opportunities, thankfully not nearly as tragic as Harold. A great listening experience
I am new to audio books and selected this story based on some of the positive feedback it received and was not disappointed. It is beautifully written, very well narrated and quite inspiring. It was lovely to find a simple storyline that opened the door so effortlessly into examinations of relationships and a raft of feelings including guilt, hope, regret, love and determination to name but a few. Hard not to review aspects of your life after reading this and that can only be a good thing to my mind. Highly recommended.
A brilliant story, fabulously read. I loved it. A brilliant unfolding of a story all about the 'lives of quiet desperation' lead by ordinary people. The story also captures beautifully the particular eccentricities of Englishness.
My wife picked this book, as I would never have picked about someone that walks out the door and keeps walking... However I was hooked in 5 minutes and needed to finish. Great characters, well written dialogs, storyline and great feeling to the overall story.
'The Alchemist' both have that same thought provoking quality. Gives you insight into people, their hopes and dreams etc
No that's a good title for it
Gives you food for thought, I enjoyed it.
The subject matter was mildly interesting.
A gentle rambling tale, that is too long by far.
Jim Broadbent is the only redeeming feature of this audiobook. His narration is top drawer.
Yes - I already have. The story is well written, big belly laugh funny at times and culminates into the telling of the Fry family's very sad past.
The girl from the garage visiting Harold's wife
I'm not sure - but I did picture Harold Fry in my head as someone that looks like Jim Broadbent!
Not an extreme reaction, i did get teary towards the end as more of the Fry's history was revealed, but the book also make me laugh quite a lot.
A really worthwhile read, I put my ear phones on and listened while I and cleaned out cupboards, I wanted to keep listening so I kept on cleaning!
i havent read it
at times i thought he was a bit mumbly and i had to go back and listen to what he was saying
"Superbly narrated and worthy of all the hype"
Jim Broadbent's narration. I wasn't sure what to expect from him, but every character came alive: it was a true performance, rather than a reading.
It really put me in mind of The Remains of the Day. The setting of a journey and of the protagonist's story told in memories, as well as the ideas of coming to terms with one's life as they reach what is described in Remains as 'the autumn' of it.
The way he seamlessly went from one character to another without my even having to think who was speaking. It was always so obvious, not just because he did different voices but by the general atmosphere he created. Some chapters were with Harold, some with Maureen, and Queenie, but although it's all written in the third person Broadbent still managed to convey things in the mental voice of whatever character the chapter was focusing on.
There were many such moments, but the ones that stick out are when we discover the full situation about Harold's son, and the final scenes between Harold and Maureen.
Sometimes these guided reviews ask: 'Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one setting?' For me the answer is definitely yes; in fact, I listened in two parts and basically put my life on hold today to finish it. Looking forward to hearing Queenie's story.
"Thought provoking, deeply profound book."
Listened to this in 2 sittings, almost without a break. Gently delivered but deeply profound book, beautifully read by Jim Broadbent, I loved every word.
"Loved this book"
One of the best books I have listened to in a very long time. I loved Harold's gut and determination to go and find Queenie
before she died.
"Touching, heartwarming and tender"
Simply breathtaking. Narrated expertly by Jim broadbent. I wept with laughter and wept. An exceptional book of love, loss and forgiveness.
"Prepare to weep."
Yes , to enjoy the detail without any distraction of trying to predict he plot.
Harold was my favourite because Jim Broadbent was so wonderful as Harold.
I could imagine him in the film version, which I sincerely hope gets made one day. The whole book was very filmic.
Couldn't stop until near the end when I was forced to stop, sit on the floor and wail!
So sad but so beautiful.
"Renewed my love of reading!"
Being a busy Mum of two., a wife, and someone that holds down two jobs I've often felt sad that I don't get the time to read anymore. Thanks to Audible, I've "read" my first book (apart from holidays!) and have absolutely LOVED this story. Poignant, funny, heart wrenchingly sad. Jim Broadbent narratoring is just THE best. Please someone make a film of this lovely book!
Still not sure about this book. Story is a bit far fetched as someone already mentioned here. Geography is not quite right and the mani character more going on 85 than 65.
Some parts are very very similar to Forrest Gump. Ans why so much swearing?
It made me quite angry and I a few times I wanted to stop but decided to finish the book and even cried at the end so I guess author's mission was accomplished in some way.
But i wouldn't listen it again.
I read this a while ago on my kindle, but was tempted by the thought of Jim Broadbent as a narrator, and also by the 'sequel' of Queenie Hennessy's story. I was NOT disappointed. I did get a little irritated by Harold's lack of backbone, as I did when I originally read it, but he is such a sweetie that I could understand, it wasn't really lack of backbone, it was just that he felt everyone had a right to be as they are!
Jim Broadbent is absolutely fabulous as the narrator, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole story, couldn't leave it and listened late into the evening, which I usually try NOT to do with audio books as my mind won't let go when I try to sleep if I listen too late.
A real delight, and left me pondering about Harold and his life long after reading it.
"One of the best stories and audiobooks available"
This is one of the best audiobooks that I've listened to from Audible
Harold, of course! Though Maureen is compelling as well
The final sections. I can't really say without giving it away.
Yes. I didn't cry or anything, but I literally stopped in my tracks, turned it off and stood, thinking about the implications of what I had just heard. Amazing book.
One of the best examples of narrative reading, coupled to one of the best books I've ever downloaded. Beautiful, wrenching and heart warming all at the same time.
Jim Broadbent brings Harold Fry to life. This book demonstrates so many life truths. One learns so much about ones self and your fellow man/woman.
What makes us tick..
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