The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Harold Fry #1)
by Rachel Joyce
Narrated by Jim Broadbent
Listening Length: 9 hours and 57 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Publisher: Random House Audio
Audible.com Release Date: July 24, 2012
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
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.
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 twenty 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 six hundred 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.
I don’t know what it is about “older” characters, but I just love them, and Harold Fry was no exception. I liked him from the very beginning of the book and liked him more and more as the book went on.
I loved that even at his age he decided to walk six hundred miles from Kingsbridge to Berwick-upon-Tweed, in hopes of saving Queenie, a co-worker he hadn’t seen in 20 years.
I loved the character of Harold. I liked his attitude and his determination. And I liked how Maureen came around and ended up supporting him in this venture.
There was a part in the book that left me with my mouth hanging open, shocked at what was revealed. I love books that do that, and this was a huge shock.
There were a lot of characters in the book but it was easy to keep them straight. Most of them I liked, but some of them did things that made me mad and/or feel bad for Harold. I wanted to yell at them and say “shame on you”!
I loved the ending of the book, it made the whole walk worth every step.
I really loved this book and now want to read the second Harold Fry book, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. It goes deeper into the relationship of Harold and Queenie, and the letter that she didn’t send.
I started reading the print version of this book and then switched to audio after only a few chapters.
Counts toward the following challenges:
Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday