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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by…
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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Rachel Joyce (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,7903871,942 (3.98)1 / 496
Member:kidsread
Title:The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Authors:Rachel Joyce (Author)
Info:Random House (2012)
Collections:Wishlist
Rating:*****
Tags:Adult, Fiction, chapter, travels, old age, Great Britain

Work details

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

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English (383)  German (6)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (4)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (400)
Showing 1-5 of 383 (next | show all)
I would give this book 10 stars if there was anyway to add them. Harold is what might be described as "below average". Not much ever happens to this unpretentious little man...and then the letter arrives. This starts Harold on the journey of several hundred miles. The idea came to him on his way to simply mail a letter to a dying old friend...thus starts Harold's adventure and your start to a story that will stay with you perhaps forever. I have read that Rachel Joyce's debut novel originated in 2006 as a radio play when her father was diagnosed with cancer: "I think it was a way of trying to keep him alive.". On his journey, he meets a lot of characters... becomes something of a celebrity and learns a little bit more about the meaning of life. I think I have to agree with the expressed sentiment "Maybe it’s what the world needs. A little less sense, and a little more faith.” ( )
  Carol420 | Oct 2, 2018 |
Beautiful. ( )
  somethingbrighter | Sep 11, 2018 |
Really interesting read! Harold receives a letter informing him a former coworker is dying from cancer. After hearing this news Harold embarks on a walking pilgrimage to "save" Queenie. Along the way he learns about himself, recovers forgotten memories, and meets several people that urge him along. His wife also learns much about herself, her marriage and her husband. All in all it was a great read and you really were on the journey with Harold. ( )
  Jen_Bartels | Sep 6, 2018 |
Hmmm. The story is tragic and I didn't even like the characters, but I kept reading. Hope they don't make a movie of the book...it would be so dark. So many people recommended this book to me, and I suppose it was interesting and well written. A dark Nicholas Sparks type story. ( )
  ioplibrarian | Aug 26, 2018 |
The novel is overall entertaining, the characters are lovable and relatable . It dragged on for me but when in the end I understood the reasons for the couple’s distraught relationship and the role of Queeny and why Harold felt compelled to walk all the way to see Queeny it all made sense to me. The last twenty pages were unforgettable, so simple yet profound and pleasurable they were to read. ( )
  sidiki | Aug 15, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 383 (next | show all)
That marvelous note of absurdity tempers the pain that runs beneath this whole novel. Joyce has no interest in mocking Harold; she just describes his quixotic trek in a gentle, matter-of-fact voice, mile after mile. At 65, he’s never walked farther than his own driveway. He has no map, cellphone or change of clothes, and his thin yachting shoes couldn’t be less appropriate for such a journey across England. “Harold would have been the first to admit that there were elements to his plan that were not finely tuned,” Joyce writes. But when the idea of saving Queenie blooms in the fallow soil of his mind, he can’t be stopped. “I will keep walking,” he declares, “and she must keep living.”
added by danielx | editWashington Post, Ron Charles (Jul 6, 2014)
 
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 editionscalculated
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:21 -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 9 descriptions

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