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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Audiobook

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel

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 is a letter addressed to Harold 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 Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person.
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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

4.2 (4627 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Phyllis 11-28-12
    Phyllis 11-28-12 Member Since 2015

    5 stars - books that I will listen to again and again. 4 stars - books that I might listen to again someday. 3 stars - books that I probably won't listen to again. 2 stars - books that I know I will never listen to again. 1 star - books that I should have never listened to in the first place.

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    "A Sentimental Story"

    The story is somewhat unique and overall it is well written but I never felt that any of the characters held my attention from beginning to end. I also have to add that I found the ending predictable, anti-climatic and overly sentimental for my tastes. All this being said, Jim Broadbent's performance got me through this book to the very end - I honestly do not believe I would have finished this audible book if it weren't for this narrator's wonderful performance. Long story short, this type of emotionally sentimental story is NOT my cup of tea.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. Evans Central New Jersey 11-27-12
    D. Evans Central New Jersey 11-27-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Picked on a whim and thoroughly enjoyed!"

    I don't know what made me select this story to listen to -- perhaps it was because it was narrated by Jim Broadbent. In any case, this was a good listen!

    Jim Broadbent's voice gave just the right amount of feeling to Harold's voice. This book was similar to a Faulkner work, in that the more you listened, the more you "peeled the onion" and learned what happened to cause the "Pilgrimage".

    The story wasn't one that you could say, "I've read/listened to something similar before." It was very unusual, and gave an excellent view of our current culture of celebrity.

    It seemed an incredible premise -- leaving the house to mail a letter to a friend, and instead starting to walk over 300 miles to see that friend. But the issues Harold dealt while walking were what we'd expect. And it was interesting to hear his voice and thoughts go through changes as the miles passed.

    The characters in this story were so well written. I could see the viewpoint of Harold, and that of his wife. I really felt for Harold throughout the story. I wanted him to succeed -- but I didn't want the story to end!

    I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 11-25-12
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 11-25-12 Member Since 2015

    I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.

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    "Couldn't get into it."
    Would you try another book from Rachel Joyce and/or Jim Broadbent?

    I am not sure... I couldn't get into this one.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Winter of the World will be my next listen


    Any additional comments?

    I really tried, but could not get interested in this book. Too bad.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elena 11-19-12
    Elena 11-19-12 Member Since 2011

    Character, humor, and drama witten with intelligence and heart, from fantasy to non-fiction is what I'm after in a great listen.

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    "Nuanced And Touching"
    Would you listen to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry again? Why?

    Yes. The writing and performance captures small details in such an understated way that a second listen would remain a rich experience.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed the ordinariness of the characters;feet of clay, with varied perceptions, but with understandable intentions.


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

    The narrator brings a kindness to the tone of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Certainly well worth my credit. I will listen again and recommend this audiobook wholeheartedly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Wolcott, CT, United States 11-19-12
    Diane Wolcott, CT, United States 11-19-12 Member Since 2009
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    "How about the UNLIKELY EPITHANY OF HAROLD FRY?"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you like character-driven stories that slowing chip away the outer shell of a person and reveal the soft inner core this is a story you will enjoy. No astounding action, no breath-taking plot. A simple walk undertaken by a simple man for a simple reason. And all the pieces carefully woven together to form the story of Harold Fry and his little family.
    This is the kind of story that has your mind wandering back to it and rethinking it for weeks after. I didn't quite buy the ending, maybe a little too trite for this otherwise unique piece of writing. I'll look forward to more Rachel Joyce books in the future.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Harold, of course, everyone else was adjunct to him.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I liked the scene where the doctor is caring for Harold's feet. So much gentle humanity and from a character not likely to show this side to just anyone.


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

    The reconciliation of Harold Fry, although I think Pilgrimage is a better choice.


    Any additional comments?

    I sincerely enjoyed this, the struggles to do this ridiculous thing, walk 500 miles to be at the deathbed of Queenie....it's extraordinary and mundane all at the same time. Well done story that slowly peels away the years of pain and suffering covering the Fry family's wounds to show the painful truths and enduring love inside each of them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carla 11-14-12
    carla 11-14-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Thoroughly enjoyed this book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry to be better than the print version?

    Yes, that could be true, because the narrator makes you feel like you are on the road with the main character


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

    Too many


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 11-13-12
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 11-13-12 Member Since 2010

    MTF

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    "A slow, quiet, original and moving novel"

    Harold Fry is a recent retiree in England. He lives with his wife Maureen in a marriage and life that seem empty. This novel revolves around Harold's impulsive decision to walk across England to visit an old friend who lies dying. Harold's walk wakes up a part of him that has been dormant for much of his life. His wife Maureen struggles with his decision to leave. The novel moves between Harold's stories on the road, and his and Maureen's attempt to face their past which contains much sadness. There are great moments and great characters in this novel of a true modern pilgrimage. While this was not a "page-turner," it did capture a world that I wanted to stay in. This moving novel stayed with me long after I was done. The reader was perfect for this story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dorothy 11-12-12
    dorothy 11-12-12
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    "Things Remembered"
    What did you love best about The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry?

    As Harold Fly journeys toward Queenie, he engages in past times that are alien to him, but like well worn shirts to the listener. Harold meets new people and begins to find the good that can be found in most everyone; he remembers picture albums of past events and cringes, cries and/or conceals. I loved this book. I loved Maureen and her marriage to Harold. I loved the angst they both lived through. I loved the end of the tunnel, by the beach, holding hands.


    What did you like best about this story?

    That in the end, love conquers all.


    What about Jim Broadbent’s performance did you like?

    I liked Jim Broadbent's accent and his use of the English language to subtly paint the ideas in the story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annie 11-11-12
    Annie 11-11-12 Member Since 2014

    Rather adorable.

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    "Are you kidding me!"

    Put down the crayons and just listen for heavens sake!
    Not since "The Help" and the "The Power of one" have I loved a book this much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brianna Portland, OR, USA 11-09-12
    Brianna Portland, OR, USA 11-09-12 Member Since 2004
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    "Beautiful, moving portrait of a family"
    If you could sum up The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry in three words, what would they be?

    Charming, engrossing, life-like characters


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

    No spoilers! Read it. The whole book is memorable.


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

    I had not listened to Jim Broadent before but now I can't wait to see him in the film version of "Cloud Atlas." He was terrific!


    Who was the most memorable character of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and why?

    Harold, obviously. So real, so British, so tragic and yet hopeful.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't feel as if I will ever forget Harold and Maureen and David and Queenie. They are part of me now.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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