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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 338 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Top Customer Reviews
In that moment, Harold, who's spent most of his life doing only the ordinary and comfortable at all, realizes what he must do. He's going to walking to his friend's sickbed. He knows it's not reasonable but he's convinced that as long as he keeps walking toward her, his friend will stay alive. He telephones the hospice, tells Queenie's nurse to take her a message: "Tell her Harold Fry is on his way. All she has to do is wait. . . . I am going to save her, you see. I will keep walking and she must keep living. Will you say that? . . . Tell her this time I won't let her down.Read more ›
Harold Fry lives invisibly and conventionally. His wife, Maureen, has become like her taste in toast: "cold and crisp". One day a letter arrives for Harold that changes their lives. The letter causes him to do something irrational and unpredictable. But as a waitress sympathetically told him in my favorite line of the book, "If we don't go mad once in a while, there's no hope." (That sounds so oddly rational that I have been contemplating what "mad" thing to do to increase the hope quotient. This may be a subversive book.)
Howard takes off on foot on a pilgrimage to see the writer of this letter. As a kind of modern CANTERBURY TALES, Howard meets many eccentric and colorful characters who cause him to see life in a new way. The pleasure of this book for me was rejoicing in Harold's transformation and the new life and self he is beginning to create. "He understood that in walking to atone for the mistakes he had made, it was also his journey to accept the strangeness of others." Meanwhile his wife, Maureen, is simultaneously changing at home: "She had given herself a challenge: every day without him, she would attempt one new thing." This book chronicles the changes these two characters undergo during Harold's pilgrimage which oddly brings them closer.
The other huge pleasure of this book is the author's original and vibrant writing. Some choice examples:
* "His shirt, tie, and trousers were folded small as an apology on a faded blue velvet chair.Read more ›
Henry David Thoreau observed, "The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation," and I could not help but recall this quotation as I began Rachel Joyce's lovely debut novel. As the novel begins, Harold is merely existing. The reader is not given many details, but it is clear that Harold's marriage to Maureen is an empty shell, and that there are problems in his relationship with his adult son, David. Then Harold gets a farewell letter of sorts from a friend, Queenie Hennessy, and his carefully orchestrated charade of a life begins to come apart. Queenie had "done something nice" for Harold twenty years previous, and he always regretted not thanking her. Whatever this is is shrouded in mystery, and many readers will suspect a long-past affair. All these questions are a bit disconcerting, but if the reader is patient, all will be resolved.
Harold writes a "pro forma" response to Queenie's note, but as he goes out to mail it, something prevents him from putting it in the first mailbox he comes to. He passes postbox after postbox, and eventually makes an impulsive decision to walk from his hometown to Queenie's hospice, about 600 miles. Thus begins his transformation from a kind of living death to fullness of life.
Readers who are familiar with Joseph Campbell's "The Hero's Journey" will immediately recognize the motif: the hero leaves the world he knows to embark on a quest.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautifully written, but very, very slow moving (as it needs to be). It may be a great book on the nature of life and death and relationships..or a small story prettily told. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Carol from Santa Rosa
They say slow and steady wins the race, and this is one of those books that does it. A gentle old man sets out to mail a letter, and just keeps on going. Read morePublished 1 day ago by ILayReading
These are nicely made towels, plush without being limp or shedding. I had a hard time finding the right shade of blue but these are perfect. I might order more.Published 4 days ago by J
Such an amazing story, I didn't want it to end. I may be a forty-something American woman, but I found I identified with Harold on many different levels, even though that doesn't... Read morePublished 5 days ago
Found very difficult to get through, it was a book where nothing ever really happened.Published 5 days ago by Karen S
Unexpected discoveries and great storytelling. Not a predictable story arc with complex relationships. Looking forward to other Rachel Joyce works.Published 6 days ago by Peggie Bobo. Kindle Customer
I have no idea why anyone would be disappointed with this product. Lots of light and works as advertised. Will probably go back for 2 more at a later date. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Amazon Customer
Cute little story about reviewing one's life, but nothing earth-shattering here!Published 7 days ago by C Wisniewski
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