The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

A Novel

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
96
5
3
 …
Rate this:
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.
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780812993295
0812993292
9780812983456
Branch Call Number: FICTION JOYCE RACHEL
Characteristics: 320 p. : map ; 22 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

s
SAM154
Oct 07, 2017

For all the acclamation this book has received, I was disappointed. It is depressing, a pathetic man deciding to walk 500km to honour an old friend. Fine, but to do it at the cost of his own health was plain stupidity. The fact it turned out to be a voyage of self-discovery was of some merit, but negated by his self-pity. Did not like or admire Harold Fry the man.

Librarian_Deb Aug 28, 2017

I got a little choked up at the end of this book--always a sign that the author is a good writer!
It starts out with Harold Fry getting a letter in the mail--a letter from an old friend who has cancer and is in hospice. That letter sets him off on a journey that takes him across the length of England--from south to north on foot. It also sets him off on an inner journey of remembering the events of his past, which are mostly painful and full of regrets. The walk he takes seems to be his way of atoning for the past, or at least dealing with what happened, as much as a way to get to his friend who is dying. How Harold's choices affect his wife Maureen, and how the people he meets along the way affect him also form important themes in the book.
I read this book with my book discussion group, and we had a lively talk as we analyzed Harold's choices and how the events of the book played out. I would highly recommend this book to discussion groups, and to anyone who enjoys a moving and well written story.

CRRL_MegRaymond Jul 25, 2017

Harold gets a letter from an old love which contains shocking news. He decides he has to hand-deliver his answer, even though she lives halfway across the country.

s
sgcf
Mar 26, 2017

I enjoyed Rachel Joyce’s gems of insight into the foibles and triumphs of humanity, despite the plodding, linear storyline with many cameo appearances by other characters. The protagonist is without a sense of identity. But his walk to the other end of England is an act of atonement, and along the way he encounters his pathetic past and finds his essence – his Self. “Pilgrimage” seems an apt word.

r
readerpat
Mar 24, 2017

A good story with a surprise ending. I did not appreciate the crude language she uses at times. Surely with her vocabulary she could have chosen less offensive words to use.

b
BeckyR21
Feb 12, 2017

Oh, Harold. Just get on a bus and go see her. Why all that walking with bad shoes? A sympathetic character and a satisfying ending, but many, many points throughout the journey just had me shaking my head. Luckily the majority of my book club agreed with me, so I am not the only one (contrary to the reviews on this site!)

b
brangwinn
Dec 09, 2016

The power of believing you can make a difference leads unassuming Harold on a walk across Britain to say goodbye to a friend from many years ago. There’s no planning and Harold is ill-prepared to walk, but he does, sending post cards to his friend from many years ago who is dying of cancer. Harold is the perfect anti-hero. He doesn’t want all the media attention his walk has attracted, he doesn’t want the throngs of people who want to join him. He just wants to tell his friend goodbye and thank you. As he walks and reflects, Harold’s life takes shape and you see why his marriage and his relationship with his son has become frayed. But Harold’s belief in the need to tell his dying friend goodbye, leads to much more.

c
cmfrakes
Aug 17, 2016

Loved this story and the characters. Kept me riveted throughout. Would recommend to others who enjoy an emotional read.

k
kitty65
Jun 30, 2016

Reading the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was like going through a long way of life. It's such a touching story and I really moved and cried for the David part.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 03, 2016

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is a quiet and moving novel that borders on being overly sentimental. At times it may toe the line, but I personally did not find it gimmicky or sloppy.

View All Comments

Quotes

Add a Quote

l
Liber_vermis
Jun 03, 2016

"Life was very different when you walked through it." (p. 40)
"Harold thought of the people he had already met on his journey. All of them were different, but none struck him as strange. He considered his own life and how ordinary it might look from the outside, when really it held such darkness and trouble." (p. 143)

PimaLib_SherrieB Nov 15, 2014

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.

b
BPTADiscusses
Nov 29, 2013

They believed in him. They had looked at him in his yachting shoes, and listened to what he said, and they had made a decision in their hearts and minds to ignore the evidence and to imagine something bigger and something infinitely more beautiful than the obvious.

g
ghreads
Dec 27, 2012

“He understood that in walking to atone for the mistakes he had made, it was also his journey to accept the strangeness of others. As a passerby, he was in a place where everything, not only the land, was open. People would feel free to talk, and he was free to listen. To carry a little of them as he went. He had neglected so many things that he owed this small piece of generosity to Queenie and the past.”

g
ghreads
Dec 27, 2012

“It must be the same all over England. People were buying milk, or filling their cars with petrol, or even posting letters. And what no one else knew was the appalling weight of the thing they were carrying inside. The inhuman effort it took sometimes to be normal, and a part of things that appeared both easy and everyday. The loneliness of that.”

Age

Add Age Suitability

t
Thehippogirl25
Jun 13, 2015

Thehippogirl25 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

h
hbrewer
May 21, 2014

hbrewer thinks this title is suitable for 40 years and over

DanglingConversations thinks this title is suitable for 40 years and over

Summary

Add a Summary

APlazek Feb 27, 2013

This quiet novel from a new author feels very reserved and British (and it is). Harold Fry receives a letter from an old co-worker who he has not spoken with in over 20 years informing hm that she has terminal cancer. Upon reading the letter Harold knows he must espond so he crafts a letter and heads out to post it, but along the way meets a girl working in a gas station and explains about the letter. The girl tellls about her aunt who had cancer and says, "You have to believe.... trusting what you don't know and going for it." Something from that conversation touches him and Harold decides he must walk to the Queenie Hennessy -- if he walks she will not die befroe he gets there. The story is mysterious and sparse yet incredibly inspiring and heartwarming. Slowly along the way the story of Harold's relationship with his wife unfolds and we learn about their son, David in bits and pieces. It is not until the end that everything comes together and it is a sad picture of how much time can be wasted with misunderstanding and hurt, yet hope remains.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at SCCLD

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top