Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

of Harold Fry
A Novel
by Rachel Joyce
Hardcover, 336 pages
Also available as an eBook

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is a magical book about love and loss and change. Coming to terms with who and what you are, and where you are in life.

Harold Fry is a recently retired gentleman living an empty life with a wife who can barely tolerate him. Without the structure of work to sustain him, he has taken to sitting in the house. To doing nothing at all.
One day he gets a letter from an old friend, Queenie. If he could even call her a friend. He's not sure. She was kind to him once and he has never thanked her properly. Now she writes to say she is dying and goodbye. Stunned, Harold can't put to paper a reply he can live with. He jots something down and walks to the post office. Then the next post office. Then the next town. Soon he is on a very unlikely pilgrimage indeed. An old man in boat shoes walking 400 miles to say goodbye in person, convinced that if he does this unlikely thing, then Queenie will live to receive him.

On the journey, Harold finds his emotions welling up in different ways - and the puzzle pieces of his unexamined life starting to piece together. Back home his wife, too, goes through emotional transformation at having been left behind.

I loved this book. It stirs something up deep inside. Absolutely wonderful. 

An Interview with Rachel Joyce
The author, Rachel Joyce, has written over twenty original afternoon plays for BBC Radio 4, and has created major adaptations for the Classic series and Woman’s Hour, as well as a TV drama adaptation for BBC2. In 2007 she won the Tinniswood Award for Best Radio Play. Joyce moved to writing after a twenty-year career in theatre and television, performing leading roles for the RSC, the Royal National Theatre, The Royal Court and Cheek by Jowl; and winning a Time Out Best Actress Award and the Sony Silver. She currently lives in Gloucestershire with her family and is at work on her second novel.
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