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El insólito peregrinaje de Harold Fry by…
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El insólito peregrinaje de Harold Fry (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Rachel Joyce

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2,4502722,516 (3.97)1 / 363
Member:JSM_Liburutegia
Title:El insólito peregrinaje de Harold Fry
Authors:Rachel Joyce
Info:Salamandra
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:viaje interior

Work details

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (2012)

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English (267)  Spanish (5)  German (4)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (1)  All languages (280)
Showing 1-5 of 267 (next | show all)
This book depicts a lengthy journey -- not through wilderness or a sea, but the whole country of England. It all started when the book’s protagonist, Harold Fry, received a letter informing him that Queenie Hennessy, his former colleague and friend, is dying in a hospital on the opposite side of the country. Struck by this news and overtaken by old memories and guilt, Harold suddenly decided that in order to save his friend, he needed to travel on foot to Queenie’s hospital, some 620 miles away. Things that happened on his way and the effect Harold’s journey had on his wife, the people he met and Harold himself, are the meat of this kind and thoughtful work you don’t want to miss. ( )
  svetlanagrobman | Mar 2, 2015 |
This book depicts a lengthy journey -- not through wilderness or a sea, but the whole country of England. It all started when the book’s protagonist, Harold Fry, received a letter informing him that Queenie Hennessy, his former colleague and friend, is dying in a hospital on the opposite side of the country. Struck by this news and overtaken by old memories and guilt, Harold suddenly decided that in order to save his friend, he needed to travel on foot to Queenie’s hospital, some 620 miles away. Things that happened on his way and the effect Harold’s journey had on his wife, the people he met and Harold himself, are the meat of this kind and thoughtful work you don’t want to miss. ( )
  svetlanagrobman | Mar 2, 2015 |
I don't know. Spoilers. This is one of those books. As he walks he remembers his life and different experiences & regrounds himself in how much he loves his wife & son. I read it all the way through. Some of my concerns/questions/thoughts:

The great thing that Queenie did for him isn't very well motivated. It was a real thing, but I'm not even sure how she took the blame. She walked in & said I did it? And there wasn't any confounding evidence, even though Harold did it in a drunken rage? Or nobody cared to look?

Keeping David's death a secret from the reader -- is this supposed to be Harold not accepting the death? After 20 years? Or, I don't know, is it just the wife's actions that make it seem like David is alive. The quiet realization that Harold was a loving father? I don't know.

The pilgrims -- it seemed like just an attempt to create a farcical atmosphere. It was sad & depressing & misogynistic. Can't people ever be OK people?

The end -- so keeping Queenie alive was the most evil he could have done to her? He wanted to return good for good, but he didn't. Ah, but then, did she? Was Harold better off being protected, or would it have been better if he had been fired instead of her? Is the message that we try to do good to others but we can't control whether we in fact bring good to them?
  franoscar | Mar 2, 2015 |
liked major pettigrew last stand better, didn't finsh ( )
  eileenmary | Feb 18, 2015 |
A charming and touching story of a simple man, his personal conviction, hopes; the nature of kindness, friendship and unspoken love. Keep the tissue box handy!

Synopsis:
Harold Fry is convinced that he must deliver a letter to an old friend in order to save her, meeting various characters along the way and reminiscing about the events of his past and people he has known, as he tries to find peace and acceptance.

Recently retired, sweet, emotionally numb Harold Fry is jolted out of his passivity by a letter from Queenie Hennessy, an old friend, who he hasn't heard from in twenty years. She has written to say she is in hospice and wanted to say goodbye. Leaving his tense, bitter wife Maureen to her chores, Harold intends a quick walk to the corner mailbox to post his reply but instead, inspired by a chance encounter, he becomes convinced he must deliver his message in person to Queenie--who is 600 miles away--because as long as he keeps walking, Harold believes that Queenie will not die.

So without hiking boots, rain gear, map or cell phone, one of the most endearing characters in current fiction begins his unlikely pilgrimage across the English countryside. Along the way, strangers stir up memories--flashbacks, often painful, from when his marriage was filled with promise and then not, of his inadequacy as a father, and of his shortcomings as a husband.

Ironically, his wife Maureen, shocked by her husband's sudden absence, begins to long for his presence. Is it possible for Harold and Maureen to bridge the distance between them? And will Queenie be alive to see Harold arrive at her door? ( )
1 vote KateBaxter | Feb 15, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 267 (next | show all)
Ultimately, the success of Joyce's writing depends less on the credibility (or otherwise) of what actually happens, so much as her unerring ability to convey profound emotions in simple, unaffected language. Here, for example, is Harold contemplating the gulf that opened up between himself and his wife following the birth of their son: "It both deepened his love for her and lifted her apart, so that just at the moment when he thought their marriage would intensify, it seemed to lose its way, or at least set them in different places."

And, appropriately for a novel inspired by loss, it contains a brilliant summation of grief – not expressed by Harold, but by his neighbour Rex (Bunyan called him Plausible), who is gradually coming to terms with the death of his wife: "I miss her all the time. I know in my head that she has gone. the only difference is that I am getting used to the pain. It's like discovering a great hole in the ground. To begin with, you forget it's there and keep falling in. After a while, it's still there, but you learn to walk round it."

Joyce's novel is prone to sentimentality, while the overpoweringly good intentions of its hero can seem a little pious. But there's no doubt that it's an original, quietly courageous testament to the inhuman effort of being normal.
 
Very rarely, you come upon a novel that feels less like a book than a poignant passage of your own life, and the protagonist like an acquaintance who has gently corrected your path. Never mind that the protagonist possesses all the realism of a painted clown and his tale the moral fibre of a fable.

Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry starts off in just this way. A rumpled retiree determines to walk 500 miles, believing his hope-filled steps will keep his dying friend alive. The premise seems quaint and predictable, but morphs gracefully into a smart, subtle, funny, painful, weirdly personal novel.
 
The unlikely but lovable hero of Rachel Joyce's remarkable debut novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, doesn't call his walk a pilgrimage. He never even calls it a hike, which would suggest planning, a map and hiking boots, all of which Harold lacks....Pilgrimage, one of the 12 novels just long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Britain's top literary award, is a gentle adventure with an emotional wallop. It's a smart, feel-good story that doesn't feel forced.
 
“The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” is not just a book about lost love. It is about all the wonderful everyday things Harold discovers through the mere process of putting one foot in front of the other. “The world was made up of people putting one foot in front of the other,” ........The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” takes its opening epigraph from John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress.” It takes the stirring spirituality of its ending from Bunyan too. In between Ms. Joyce’s book loosely parallels “The Pilgrim’s Progress” at times, but it is very much a story of present-day courage. She writes about how easily a mousy, domesticated man can get lost and how joyously he can be refound.
 
Joyce slowly reveals what he has to walk away from, and there are some surprises. His progress is measured in memories as well as miles; memories of parents who didn’t want him, and of the early days of his marriage and his only son David’s childhood. There are a few lapses in the story—events and characters that come along at convenient moments—but Joyce captures Harold’s emotions with a tidiness of words that is at times thrilling. It’s a trip worth taking.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rachel Joyceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andreas, MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Andreas-Hoole, MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Broadbent, JimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davidson, AndrewIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zwart, JannekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Who would true valour see,
Let him come hither;
One here will constant be
Come wind, come weather.
There's no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent
To be a pilgrim.

John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress
Dedication
For Paul, who walks with me, and for my father,
Martin Joyce (1936-2005)
First words
The letter that would change everything arrived on a Tuesday.
Quotations
He fell silent, and so did Martina. He felt safe with what he had confided. It had been the same with Queenie. You can say things in the car and know she had tucked them somewhere safe among her thoughts, and that she would not judge him for them, or hold it against him in years to come. He supposed that was what friendship was, and regretted all the years he had spent without it.
He had learned it was the smallness of people that filled him with wonder and tenderness, and the loneliness of that too. The world was made up of people putting one foot in front of the other; and a life might appear ordinary simply because the person living it had been doing so for a long time. Harold could no longer pass a stranger without acknowledging the truth that everyone was the same, and also unique; and that this was the dilemma of being human.
He watched the squares of buttery light inside the houses, and people going about their business. He thought of how they would settle in their beds and try to sleep through their dreams. It struck him again how much he cared, and how relieved he was that they were somehow safe and warm, while he was free to keep walking. After all, it had always been this way; that he was a little apart.
If he kept looking at the things that were bigger than himself, he knew he would make it to Berwick.
You could think you were starting something afresh, when actually what you were doing was carrying on as before. He had faced his shortcomings and overcome them, and so the real business of walking was happening only now.
Last words
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Book description
Harold Fry is convinced that he must deliver a letter to an old love in order to save her, meeting various characters along the way and reminiscing about the events of his past and people he has known, as he tries to find peace and acceptance.
Haiku summary
I'm just popping out
To post this letter, dear! Next
Stop: Berwick on Tweed ...
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0812993292, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, July 2012: Harold Fry--retired sales rep, beleaguered husband, passive observer of his own life--decides one morning to walk 600 miles across England to save an old friend. It might not work, mind you, but that's hardly the point. In playwright Rachel Joyce's pitch-perfect first novel, Harold wins us over with his classic antiheroism. Setting off on the long journey, he wears the wrong jacket, doesn't have a toothbrush, and leaves his phone at home--in short, he is wholly, endearingly unprepared. But as he travels, Harold finally has time to reflect on his failings as a husband, father, and friend, and this helps him become someone we (and, more important, his wife Maureen) can respect. After walking for a while in Harold Fry's very human shoes, you might find that your own fit a bit better. --Mia Lipman

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:36 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Harold Fry is convinced that he must deliver a letter to an old love in order to save her, meeting various characters along the way and reminiscing about the events of his past and people he has known, as he tries to find peace and acceptance.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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