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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 (6827 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    D. Evans Mississippi 07-21-13
    D. Evans Mississippi 07-21-13 Member Since 2009

    reader 1953

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    27
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    "Uplifting"
    If you could sum up The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry in three words, what would they be?

    Compassionate, uplifting, meaningful.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the way I felt reading the book. It gave me inspiration to be kind to strangers.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Buskirk Neptune NJ 07-16-13
    Deborah Buskirk Neptune NJ 07-16-13 Member Since 2001

    deafsetter

    HELPFUL VOTES
    76
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    "Somewhat depressing"

    Somewhat depressing, but in the end some realizations.
    Set a goal and trudge on for the reward at the end.
    Don't let your relationships just go on without keeping it alive. One day you wake up and feel like strangers.
    When you set the goal, remember it's your goal and not to be "shared" with others unless that was your original plan.
    I think the book could have been much shorter, but overall, I liked the characters and how their lives were changed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alejandra ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 07-14-13
    Alejandra ANCHORAGE, AK, United States 07-14-13 Member Since 2012

    alejandra_c

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "A journey into introspection"

    The story itself starts off simply. A man goes off for a walk. Although some might find this story slow at times, I think it was perfectly timed. It was timed just right for Harold to find the truth about himself, his life and his place in the world.

    I found myself listening to this as if he were somebody I knew and I became curious about whether or not he would finish his journey.

    The narration is nicely done as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vickie 07-12-13
    Vickie 07-12-13

    I'm an avid reader who now listens to books on tape. I'm a bit late to the game but enjoying the hands free reading.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Finding and Fooling Yourself"
    What did you love best about The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry?

    A elderly man impulsively decides to walk across England to visit a dying friend from his past. During the walk he uncovers years of denial about who he thought he was and comes to a greater understanding of his wife, marriage, son and his role as father and husband. The best thing about the story is he had no idea of what it means to be human and how he never lived his life until he took his first step across the country.


    Any additional comments?

    I will listen to the book again which is rare for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kayla Zion, Israel 07-08-13
    Kayla Zion, Israel 07-08-13
    ratings
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    3
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    Story
    "Sincere and authentic"

    This book touched me because it seemed so genuine, so honest, and so bitter that it was beautiful. I am much like Harold, touched by the goodness of everyday people and amazed by how many of us have a story. Harold's journey is not perfect, but it is a reflection of his life inside a much bigger world that are both filled with complications, strain, heartbreak and healing. You will feel anger, and fatigue, and worry, and joy. Well worth the listen especially with such a fantastic performance on the part of Jim Broadbent. Fantastic for those who love a good tale about what it is to be human in such a imperfect world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee 07-07-13
    Lee 07-07-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Poignant and compelling"
    Would you listen to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry again? Why?

    There is meaning in every word with crafted prose and a compelling story. An unexpressive man receives a letter and takes a walk across England, hoping to redeem himself in the eyes of a friend he never thanked. We walk with Harold and everyone he meets along the way - even the dog. Life, death, friendship, love and fear intermingle in a story that keeps the listener wanting to take one more minute to find out what's around the next bend.


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

    Maureen was my favorite character. Flawed, blaming, and bound up by the things of life while hidden away in her house of grief, she slowly emerges as a lively and loving woman. We meet her as she is; then travel back to who she was, eventually knowing that she can be both and still be loved and lovable.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Every man's journey to life.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole 06-24-13
    Nicole 06-24-13

    I mostly read historical non-fiction and fiction and I love it when it's done well.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Broadbent Makes it Better"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes. I really enjoyed Broadbent's performance.


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

    Probably not. While I liked listening to the book, I didn't care as much for Joyce's writing style. It was a little manipulating and the "reveals" toward the end of the book should have come sooner, in my opinion.


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

    Harold Fry.


    Do you think The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. I thought it was too long as it was.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-21-13 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good book."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, the summary sounds rather dull but you endure the life of one character and how much it meant for him to walk to visit an ill friend.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Harold was may favorite because of his interactions with each person he met on his venture.


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

    No.


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

    Well, it would have to be Harold. The book is about him, his wife, all the various people he interacts with on his walk. He did it for all the right reasons and he met some shady characters that joined him for all the wrong reasons.


    Any additional comments?

    N/A

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Becky 06-19-13
    Becky 06-19-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too Depressing"
    What did you like best about The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry? What did you like least?

    I liked the general idea of the story and I thought the reader did an excellent job.


    Was The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry worth the listening time?

    yes


    Any additional comments?

    I found this book to be way too depressing. I probably would have loved it in my younger years but find myself enjoying more uplifting stories as I get older.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Petrea 06-15-13
    Petrea 06-15-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
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    "I started listening, "put it down," and returned!"

    And I am so glad I did. What a wonderful book this is. Heartbreaking, funny, understated and yet a little fantastic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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