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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Audiobook

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel

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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - Why did I love this book so much? The answer to that question is as complicated as trying to explain why you love a particular person. Because that’s what this book is – an entire life encapsulated and explored through the thoughts and encounters of a man on an unexpected journey. The story slowly grows and unfolds until the full picture is before you – blooming and beautiful and completely irreplaceable. Jim Broadbent’s narration is so utterly real it breaks your heart. — Emily

Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (6008 )
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4.5 (5383 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Julie A. Levin 03-06-13

    Marriage and Family Therapist

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    148
    10
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    Story
    "Love and redemption on a very long walk"

    Sometimes magical thinking works. Harold sets off to save a friend in a way that makes his wife question his sanity, but his quirky quest leads to more being saved than either could have imagined. Sweet, funny, moving. Loved it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Reno, NV, United States 03-06-13
    Kathy Reno, NV, United States 03-06-13 Member Since 2016
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    6
    3
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    Story
    "Much more than I expected"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry to be better than the print version?

    This one pulls you in. Starting simply you are pulled into a lifetime of reflection on choices made, heartaches suffered....the tapestry that made Harold and his wife. I aches with them, I cried with them, I laughed with them, and I felt their lives. Don't miss this one


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shane Smiths Falls, ON, Canada 03-05-13
    Shane Smiths Falls, ON, Canada 03-05-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    30
    19
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    "Exploring the human character"

    I enjoyed the writing, the story and the performance in almost equal measure. A section of the book dragged somewhat and seemed out of place (I won't say which to avoid a spoiler) but the book was well worth the listen. I thought the author did an excellent job of teasing out the story of Harold's relationships and portraying how we all suppress "unpleasantness" in our lives. It was also genuinely touching without being maudlin.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheila 03-04-13
    Sheila 03-04-13 Member Since 2011
    ratings
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    43
    8
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    Story
    "It's not about the shoes"

    A wonderful piece. You may feel it starts off slowly but relax and go with it! Soon you will not want to eat lunch or go to bed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Cincinnati, OH, United States 03-01-13
    Michael Cincinnati, OH, United States 03-01-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Wonderful story - tear"

    I wasn't prepared for this story. But as in most good stories, that made it even better.

    I quickly identified with Harold Fry, as I am a father of an only son - and my parents' only son. And about 2/3 of the way through, I thought I had it figured out. But I found myself crying uncontrollably, while driving around town listening to the last few chapters.

    This was truly an unlikely, but memorable pilgrimage for Harold and for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy M. 02-25-13
    Judy M. 02-25-13 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best audiobook ever!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry the most enjoyable?

    The narrator of this book makes it such a joy to listen to that I couldn't put it down!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Fort Wayne, IN, United States 02-23-13
    Susan Fort Wayne, IN, United States 02-23-13 Member Since 2009

    mollyo

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Touching personal journey"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This rates among the top books I've listened to over the past year. Jim Broadbents narration is perfect. Harold's pilgramage is an end of life journey of remembrance and self searching that is at once touching and poignant. And though Harold leaves his wife Maureen at home as he sets off unexpectantly on foot to a friend dying of cancer, she herself embarks upon her own journey of remembrance that exposes her own empty cold life. This unlikely pilgrimage leads both Harold and Maureen to a new beginnning that neither of them imagined. This beautiful story merges lives of emptiness and pain to a beautiful conclusion. Do not hestitate. This one is worth your time.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lucy 02-22-13
    lucy 02-22-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "a wonderful look at life"

    What a journey, the author weaves a tale that goes thru our humanity in creative intimate encounters. I loved it, this is one i would listen to again, just to relish the depth of it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Ottawa, ON, Canada 02-21-13
    Elizabeth Ottawa, ON, Canada 02-21-13

    Book are life enriching

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    375
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    "you just keep routing for Harold no matter what"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this book because it is about an ordinary man who did something extraordinary.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I think many readers can relate to Harold's journey and if not - are intrigued by it.


    Which character – as performed by Jim Broadbent – was your favorite?

    I really liked the main character


    If you could take any character from The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I'd perhaps like to go on a walking trip with the main character as opposed to having dinner.


    Any additional comments?

    Just that it was a tale about an ordinary person who did an extraordinary thing and that we are all of us capable of something extraordinary....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. McRitchie Iowa, United States 02-21-13
    K. McRitchie Iowa, United States 02-21-13 Member Since 2016

    Lifelong Learner

    HELPFUL VOTES
    40
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    "Everyone will like Harold!"

    Overall this was a good story, it dragged in parts, but I kept engaged, even cried a few times along with Harold. I think it was strange when Harold had all of those followers walking with him, but I guess it was a way to have many different characters, often contrasting with Harold. (human frailty at its best) The walk, which was therapeutic for so many people, even those not walking, like Harold's wife, caused me to cheer along with everyone, hoping Harold would make it to the end in time.

    The writing was very descriptive and detailed, and allowed the reader to experience what Harold was seeing and doing. The narration was appropriate and done very well. This is the kind of easy book that requires nothing from the reader, but to tag along and enjoy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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