Regular price: $28.00

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    3,571
  • 4 Stars
    2,319
  • 3 Stars
    826
  • 2 Stars
    169
  • 1 Stars
    108

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    4,189
  • 4 Stars
    1,567
  • 3 Stars
    421
  • 2 Stars
    62
  • 1 Stars
    50

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    3,165
  • 4 Stars
    2,047
  • 3 Stars
    785
  • 2 Stars
    199
  • 1 Stars
    97
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Not a journey worth taking

What did you like best about The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry? What did you like least?

I'm sorry to say, I did not listen to whole thing... I was bored and the book did not hold my attention.

Would you be willing to try another book from Rachel Joyce? Why or why not?

I doubt it. I didn't enjoy this book. I read a lot of the reviews, but I just don't agree with them. Wasn't my cup of tea.

What three words best describe Jim Broadbent’s voice?

I thought I would be more entertained by such an acclaimed actor. It was just fine... but I was bored with the lack of tone and any vocal dramatics that could have been done.

Did The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry inspire you to do anything?

No... except, delete it from my library.

Any additional comments?

Not my cup of tea. I was hoping for more. I wasn't moved or inspired.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I love you Harold Fry

What about Jim Broadbent’s performance did you like?

I thought he depicted the character and age of Harold perfectly. I wasn't sure I would like this book, but the reviews made me give it a try and I am so very glad I did. Its wonderful writing that captures the complex states we as humans buy into. This book is inspiring, heart breaking and absolutely wonderful.<br/><br/>Harold gets a letter from a dying work friend, and when he sets out to post the letter, he hears an inspirational story so decides to walk 500 miles and hand deliver his response. (much more development is in the book, these are VERY abbreviated points). We learn that on this journey Harold and his wife are dealing with and working out much more tragedy and personal issues than initially disclosed. He meets others in various stages of trust, both spiritually and emotionally; and finds new ways to heal himself. Beautiful book.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Loved it!

A moving story about rediscovering the beauty of life. Sometimes we have to travel to the darkest places to appreciate the light.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Satisfying

A fully satisfying, almost spiritual book with memorable characters with an unusual story to tell.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • JJ
  • 12-30-15

Go on a journey

What other book might you compare The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry to and why?

I don't know if there is a book comparable to Harold Fry. This is unique in almost every way (at least in my reading history). It's a story of redemption, restoration and healing... and I guess a warning against burying your feelings.

Which scene was your favorite?

Two scenes really caught me. Harold and Queenie, and Harold and his wife at the end. Giving more details would ruin the story but, needless to say, wonderful!

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

Harold Fry is the most memorable character. You journey with him and, through his ups and downs, you discover how important it is to keep the most important things important in your life.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

harold fry

Really liked the story until about the middle of the walk. Then it seemed to go on too long. Very sad story that ended the way it should.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A Book that Stays With You

Loved the narrator and story line. Definitely worth the time to listen to! Definitely worth the money.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great story of loves perseverance!

The story builds a tad slow but is so intriguing. I found myself cheering for Harold and egging him on to finish his walk. The cast of characters Harold meets and the human interaction that happens between them is a story within a story. great listen!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Wonderful - a must read

Would you listen to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry again? Why?

Yes. Jim Broadbent's voice and accent were perfect - a marvelous performance. The writing was poetic at several points and I would like to copy down some of the quotes. It was also a comforting story in many ways.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Harold. He was relatable and endearing.

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

He brought emotion into the characters' voices, especially Harold's. I'm american and I'm glad my memory of this story will be in a British voice. He was a perfect choice.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes - both. Not many audiobooks have that effect on me.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Inspiring!

A wonderful sorry of self-discovery, determination, love, and redemption. Loved every step of this pilgrimage....even the self-serving tag alongs.