Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Unlikely Pilgrimige of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Harold Fry, the hero of Rachel Joyce’s bestselling novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, is an unlikely hero if ever there was one.  He is recently retired, an ordinary man, living an ordinary life, in a town in Southern England.  His wife finds everything he does annoying, and they have fallen into a familiar pattern of coexistence that has remained unchanged for years.

One morning he receives a card in the mail from an old friend, Queenie Hennessy, who is dying in a hospice and wants to say goodbye.  Harold writes a response and walks to the post office to send it.  But when he reaches the post office, he decides he really must deliver it in person, and just keeps on walking.  He has no proper shoes; only a light jacket, and no cell phone.  Harold Fry believes that as long as she knows he’s coming, she will keep living. So begins his 600 mile “pilgrimage”.

On the way, Harold faces many challenges that could easily bring an end to his quest.  He is tormented by the scars of the past, and the pain of the present.  Along the way he meets a cast of interesting characters who both help and hinder him.  I loved this unforgettable book, and recommend it highly.

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