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)
I'm not sure. It was interesting in some part but really weird and random in others.
I really wanted to enjoy it more. I finished it though and the ending is surprising which was cool.
Some of the walk, lol.
I've been listening to audio books for years and have been an audible subscriber for ? 10 years maybe? A long time anyway.
I chose this book for my book club prior to reading it. (That is my self-imposed rule for all my selections) I was quite pleasantly surprised.
I'd actually like to read it again prior to the meeting of my book club on 4/13 so that I can set up an actual map of Harold's trip. Perhaps I will.
I liked how hidden stories for each character came out and came together in the end.
He has the perfect voice for the main character for sure.
I was intrigued by the girl at the gas station at the beginning of the book and the fact that she showed up near the end as well. Not too many kids are willing to share in an earnest conversation with an older adult, especially one that they do not know.
Sad, moving, but motivational all in one!
The characters were real, lovable, growing and interesting. The story warmed my soul and breathed gratitude into me.
The most memorabel moment occurred at the end of the story when Harold and Maureen believed in love again.
Harold was most memorable because of all the changes and peaks and valleys he navigated in his heart. Martina was also quite memorable because of her utmost kindness despite her own pain.
This was just good medicine!
Yes, I think it's a good story. At first I didn't think it would be interesting enough but as I went further, I got it. I walk a lot for fun so I know it helps you sort your life out. That's what Harold did.
The book starts out a little slowly - please don't be put off by that because it really delivers some incredible messages and packs a punch in the end! I actually did laugh and cry and rooted and cheered for Harold and those who love him and show him kindness. This is a very heartwarming and insightful novel and I have recommmended it to family and friends already - I now recommend it to you! Jim Broadbent is masterful and there is no doubt in my mind that if and when this hits the big screen he will be just the man to put a fact to Harold Fry.
This is a book about fear...the fear to be truly seen by others and to let people in. Harold Fry can't trust,can't be with others, can't express himself. There is a little Harold in all of us. The story is beautiful and the performance is lovely and moving. A great listen!
I loved how the story unfolded a little at a time and the many interconnected layers of metaphor. The performance of Jim Broadbent was simply magnificent and allowed me to connect with Harold and his world immediately. I highly recommend this novel as it takes you on an emotional, spiritual journey.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I could empathize with Harold Fry very much, although I am about 30 years behind where he is in his life. .You don't have to be at the tail end life to identify mistakes made in life and the contemplation of them. The lessons he learns are applicable to just about all of us. At times I found his story to be funny, sad, helpless, and then empowering, tragic yet ultimately hopeful. At all times, I found Harold to be immensely sweet and likable. Even his wife, Maureen, who initially seemed to be a wenchy antagonist, you learn is a true human being with flaws, yet strength and love. This book felt good to my soul,
Little bit crazy but prefer the term eccentric. I am a recluse by nature so I live for my books and the friends I find within their pages.
In this wonderful tale your emotions will by tested to their full range. Funny, sad, insightful and best of all honest. The narrator takes you on the journey with Harold and you feel evrything he is going through with empathy and love for the man. I had a crazy week but found time everyday to find out what Harold was up to and it made my week bearable.
Thank you Racheal, Jim and Harold you enriched my life with your story.
Only did audio, but in my experience with such a good reader there is no comparison
I wait for books that offer a unique story with beautiful writing that just takes you in and doesn't let go
Highly recommended. Beautiful book.
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