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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry | [Rachel Joyce]

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (243 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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4.2 (213 )
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4.5 (216 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Tony Harrison, Australia 03-17-13
    Tony Harrison, Australia 03-17-13 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    9
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Wonderful Revealling Journey of Harold Fry"

    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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nick 02-25-13
    Nick 02-25-13 Member Since 2013
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    1
    1
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    Story
    "A great story"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. 02-19-13
    Dr. 02-19-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    3
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    "Brilliant"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mackenzie 02-04-13
    Mackenzie 02-04-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    32
    22
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    "Made an old cynic weep"

    What a super novel. A great story with several stories within the main one and as they unfold, I was left inspired.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gertjan wageningen, Netherlands 01-23-13
    gertjan wageningen, Netherlands 01-23-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    14
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    "Excellent! Moving and very light at the same time!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Iris 01-12-13
    Iris 01-12-13

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
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    5
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    "Very philosophical............."
    Would you listen to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry again? Why?

    Maybe?


    What other book might you compare The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry to and why?

    'The Alchemist' both have that same thought provoking quality. Gives you insight into people, their hopes and dreams etc


    Have you listened to any of Jim Broadbent’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    If you could rename The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, what would you call it?

    No that's a good title for it


    Any additional comments?

    Gives you food for thought, I enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Guin 01-05-13
    Guin 01-05-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    11
    10
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    "inspirational - well worth a listen"

    I hadn't heard anything about this book. Loved it from start to finish - I found it very inspiring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Cape, ZA 01-01-13
    Amazon Customer Cape, ZA 01-01-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Pretty Darn Average"
    Would you try another book from Rachel Joyce and/or Jim Broadbent?

    The subject matter was mildly interesting.


    What was most disappointing about Rachel Joyce’s story?

    A gentle rambling tale, that is too long by far.


    What does Jim Broadbent bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Jim Broadbent is the only redeeming feature of this audiobook. His narration is top drawer.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole Aspendale Gardens, Australia 12-28-12
    Nicole Aspendale Gardens, Australia 12-28-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    1
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    Story
    "Unexpected pilgrimage of Harold Fry - great story!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry?

    The girl from the garage visiting Harold's wife


    What does Jim Broadbent bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I'm not sure - but I did picture Harold Fry in my head as someone that looks like Jim Broadbent!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Whigham edinburgh uk 12-23-12
    C. Whigham edinburgh uk 12-23-12

    caz

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    17
    11
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    "picked up towards the end"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry to be better than the print version?

    i havent read it


    Would you be willing to try another book from Rachel Joyce? Why or why not?

    yes


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    at times i thought he was a bit mumbly and i had to go back and listen to what he was saying


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 21-30 of 36 results PREVIOUS1234NEXT
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  • tothemanorbornfreak
    1/31/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Superbly narrated and worthy of all the hype"
    What made the experience of listening to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry the most enjoyable?

    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.


    What other book might you compare The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry to, and why?

    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.


    What about Jim Broadbent’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • t33lady
    1/26/15
    Overall
    Performance
    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Katherine
    Winkleigh, United Kingdom
    1/23/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • victoria
    1/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • P.Lean
    1/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Prepare to weep."
    Would you listen to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry again? Why?

    Yes , to enjoy the detail without any distraction of trying to predict he plot.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Harold was my favourite because Jim Broadbent was so wonderful as Harold.


    What about Jim Broadbent’s performance did you like?

    I could imagine him in the film version, which I sincerely hope gets made one day. The whole book was very filmic.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Couldn't stop until near the end when I was forced to stop, sit on the floor and wail!


    Any additional comments?

    So sad but so beautiful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Issie's mum
    Bucks, UK
    1/8/15
    Overall
    "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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    12/9/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not sure"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mollyeyre
    Leicestershire UK
    11/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Lovely tale"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • N Cowan
    Great Yarmouth, norfolk
    10/23/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of the best stories and audiobooks available"
    Where does The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of the best audiobooks that I've listened to from Audible


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Harold, of course! Though Maureen is compelling as well


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The final sections. I can't really say without giving it away.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • david clough
    10/17/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "uplifting"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry to be better than the print version?

    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.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    What makes us tick..


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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