Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn't seen or heard from in 20 years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.
Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then, as happens in the very best works of fiction, Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. And thus begins the unlikely pilgrimage at the heart of Rachel Joyce's remarkable debut. Harold Fry is determined to walk 600 miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live.
Still in his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold embarks on his urgent quest across the countryside. Along the way he meets one fascinating character after another, each of whom unlocks his long-dormant spirit and sense of promise. Memories of his first dance with Maureen, his wedding day, his joy in fatherhood, come rushing back to him - allowing him to also reconcile the losses and the regrets. As for Maureen, she finds herself missing Harold for the first time in years.
And then there is the unfinished business with Queenie Hennessy.
A novel of unsentimental charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry introduces Rachel Joyce as a wise - and utterly irresistible - storyteller.
©2012 Rachel Joyce (P)2012 Random House Audio
"When it seems almost too late, Harold Fry opens his battered heart and lets the world rush in. This funny, poignant story about an ordinary man on an extraordinary journey moved and inspired me." (Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank)
"There's tremendous heart in this debut novel by Rachel Joyce, as she probes questions that are as simple as they are profound: Can we begin to live again, and live truly, as ourselves, even in middle age, when all seems ruined? Can we believe in hope when hope seems to have abandoned us? I found myself laughing through tears, rooting for Harold at every step of his journey. I'm still rooting for him." (Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife)
"Marvelous! 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." (Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand)
Well titled story of a man who starts out on a trip to the post office and ends up walking across Europe. He reminisces about his life and meets interesting characters on the road that effect his physical and psychological journey
What a great book! I expected something light and fluffy, and instead got a wonderful, thought-provoking book with full deep characters and a compelling story line. Terrific!
Great narrator! Just the right approach.
Green professional and pro blogger; Audible addict!
I love British English; walking to keep a friend alive is a funny idea; some funny bits.
Listened to it while landscaping.
Loved it! Cried, laughed, was left thinking about my own life and how to make it more meaningful and how precious life is. Great narrator! Really colourful, draws you in. Didn't want it to end!
You go on the pilgrimage with Harold. It is tender and heart wrenching. Amazing slow,plodding,deep & worth it! The narration is pitch perfect.
With almost 800 books in my library, I am an experienced listener. I appreciate a well written good story. I am pretty critical of trash.
This book was engaging from page one. It was also deceptively friendly at the beginning as it continued the unraveling of details that gave meaning and depth to the story line . It was well and strategically written to reveal the necessary aspects that emerged as the pilgrimage progressed. I never wanted to quit but listened right through, although it became painful to me as the details were revealed. It had the sense of a very plausible family in todays society. this is not a feel good book for the light hearted. I will repeat well written and especially well narrated. I assume it was meant as a story of redemption. I did not like the ending or felt that it was adequate as an implication of "light at the end of the tunnel". I gave it four stars because of originality and writing, but it was not my cup of tea towards the end.
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