When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else’s life.
I’ve read this as it was the monthly book club choice. This is Rachel Joyce’s debut novel, having had what seems a successful career as a play writer for Radio 4 she was the winner of the New Writer Award Specsavers National Book Awards for 2012.
Basically, Harold spontaneously decides to walk from his home town in South Devon to Berwick-upon-Tweed (just north of Newcastle, in case you wondering, I wasn’t sure!). He left with just the clothes he was wearing and off he goes. The purpose, because he has received a letter from an old friend, Queenie, who is dying in a hospice. The story unravels as Harold walks, he reminisces, recollecting good and bad memories which are intermingled with the people he meets on his journey and the experiences he has.
It’s an easy read and very descriptive of the places he visits and travels through and the people he meets, you can imagine yourself on the journey with him! I preferred the first part of the book when he was travelling alone. In the second half when he had other ‘pilgrims’ with him, I felt it lost its purpose a bit with all the other agenda’s going on and I think Harold did too 🙂
I think this is the male version to the Sue Townsend novel The Woman who Went to Bed for a Year. I got a bit bored with that one too. Mmmmm I have to say it wasn’t really my cup of tea, I didn’t race to pick it up and could definitely put it down. Sorry – it’d be a very boring world if we all liked the same things. Read if you enjoyed The Woman Who Went to Bed For A Year or similar.
Available as paperback and Kindle version from Amazon The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry
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