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
“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)
So sad how 20 years of a relationship could be wasted. Secrets, unspoken words, tragedy, loneliness.
A 65 year old man embarks on a journey (pilgrimage) to see a long lost friend who is dying of cancer. On the way, he meets ordinary yet special people who inspire him and give him hope - most of the time. He thinks about the shadows of the past and how he thinks he failed his wife, son and friend. Meanwhile, his wife is going through the same feelings while left at home. Has he left her? Will he come back?
The narration was superb. The male narrator didn't try to imitate the female voices as some do (badly!). But you always knew who was speaking.
Very moving and emotional. And so well written and narrated. An absolutely wonderful story!
I thorughally enjoyed Jim Broadbent's performance. As a female I find it interesting to listen to the male voice of a novel.
I would have made Harold a bit stronger in the latter stage of the journey. But ultimately I was pleased with his character. I really disliked the pilgrims!
Harold! He was a wonderful Mrs Fry as well.
I like the title.
I did find the third quarter of the book very frustrating and tedious - but I suppose that was how Harold was also feeling. I thought it was wrong of him to expect someone with cancer to wait for him given the terrible pain they are in but that could well be because of my recent experiences.
The description of grief being like a big hole given by Reg was spot on! A book I would recomend to friends and may well buy the printed version to keep.
For me, the narrator can make or break a book. In this case, the narration was perfectly matched to the story and it's characters. Jim Broadbent did an awesome job of making a superb story even better.
I loved it's simplicity and the bare boned honesty of it's characters.
It's impossible to choose just one scene as a favorite though I especially liked the interactions with people Harold met along the way.
This whole book is moving, tender and at times very funny.
I so enjoyed going on this journey with Harold and Maureen. It's a book I'll listen to again. I find it hard to believe this is the authors first novel. I look forward to reading future books by this amazing author.
One of the best
All of them - he is a fantastic narrator especially for foreigners ! Harold Fry was my favorite -
so calm all the time.
Harold Fry in the hospital
I highly recomend this book to everyone.
Yes! Such a lovely story, poignant, clever, sad but in the end uplifting
Wondrous, Emotional, Charming
Harold reminds me of my grandfather who passed away some years ago. My grandfather had the same quiet, non-judgmental approach to others that Harold adapts as he meets strangers along the way, and I could imagine my grandfather in Harold's shoes--no pun intended.Like any great piece of literature, it shows us human truths and frailties in all their ugliness and beauty, through a new voice. It lets us filter our own experiences through the story. And it begs the question, would I do that if in the same situation?It has moved me more than any piece of writing for a long time. I believe that it's a story to "listen" to. Jim Broadbent is brilliant. I feel privileged to have listened.
All of them. He is faultless.
Yes! But I split it up as much as possible to savour it. About four sittings as I couldn't wait.
Listen to it!
What a book!
Harold was my favourite character and his evolution on the journey was incredible.
I love reading, have since I was very little. Reading to me is fun, relaxation, acquiring knowledge and so much more. No particular preference for a genre or writer, I will read anything well written. Once gripped by somebodies style of storytelling & writing, I am likely to read everything he or she has written.
Definitely! The story is well written, poignant and in many ways recognizable. In one way or another (whether young or old(er)), I am sure we can all relate to Harold's situation at the beginning of the book.
It doesn't matter whether or not his decision to go on a pilgrimage is realistic or not. What matters is, he decides to do something. About his life, about his friends and, as it turns out, much more.
Good for him! And good for all of us/you who - like Harold - dare to go for the unexpected, the nonconformistic and take our/your lives into our/your own hands!
Harold, off course. The way he starts out and slowly evolves; he grew on me more and more.
I love Jim Broadbent's voice and presentation of the book. I especially like the way he gives each character his/her own voice without going overboard with accents, funny diction, etc.
Maureen and Harold after he - or in a sense they both - finished his pilgrimage. I would love to get to know them both better after they both learned and evolved so much.
Really recommend it!
This novel was beauifully read which moved graciously through a story of rememberance. Totally engaging. This novel takes you through all the emotions, one minute you are laughing and the next a tear springs to the eye.
This book is similar in style to Major Pettigrews Last Stand and Mr. Rosenblum's List.
One man's journey through his history...
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading charming books that take you on a journey just like Harold Fry's pilgrimage.
I absolutely loved Jim Broadbent's narration. I thought that I might visualise him as the protagonist because he has such a distinctive voice and face, but I didn't. The story captivated and allowed me to forget who the actor/narrator was
The novel was full of images. The slow revelation of the reason for Harold's pilgrimage drew me in.
The warmth of being read to by an excellent narrator is one of the treats of listening to books, rather than reading them. Jim Broadbent's narration is one of the best.
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