The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Format:  Hardcover,

320 pages

Publisher: Random House Inc

Publish Date: Jul 2012

ISBN-13: 9780812993295

ISBN-10: 0812993292

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER - LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE - NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY "THE WASHINGTON POST"
Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn't seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.
Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then, as happens in the very best works of fiction, Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. And thus begins the unlikely pilgrimage at the heart of Rachel Joyce's remarkable debut. Harold Fry is determined to walk six hundred miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live.
Still in his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold embarks on his urgent quest across the countryside. Along the way he meets one fascinating character after another, each of whom unlocks his long-dormant spirit and sense of promise. Memories of his first dance with Maureen, his wedding day, his joy in fatherhood, come rushing back to him--allowing him to also reconcile the losses and the regrets. As for Maureen, she finds herself missing Harold for the first time in years.
And then there is the unfinished business with Queenie Hennessy.
A novel of unsentimental charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" introduces Rachel Joyce as a wise--and utterly irresistible--storyteller.
Advance praise for "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry"
"When it seems almost too late, Harold Fry opens his battered heart and lets the world rush in. This funny, poignant story about an ordinary man on an extraordinary journey moved and inspired me."--Nancy Horan, author of "Loving Frank"
"There's tremendous heart in this debut novel by Rachel Joyce, as she probes questions that are as simple as they are profound: Can we begin to live again, and live truly, as ourselves, even in middle age, when all seems ruined? Can we believe in hope when hope seems to have abandoned us? I found myself laughing through tears, rooting for Harold at every step of his journey. I'm still rooting for him."--Paula McLain, author of "The Paris Wife"
" "
"Marvelous I held my breath at his every blister and cramp, and felt as if by turning the pages, I might help his impossible quest succeed."--Helen Simonson, author of" Major Pettigrew's Last Stand"
"Harold's journey is ordinary and extraordinary; it is a journey through the self, through modern society, through time and landscape. It is a funny book, a wise book, a charming book--but never cloying. It's a book with a savage twist--and yet never seems manipulative. Perhaps because Harold himself is just wonderful. . . . I'm telling you now: I love this book."--Erica Wagner, "The Times "(UK)
"The odyssey of a simple man . . . original, subtle and touching."--Claire Tomalin, author of "Charles Dickens: A Life"

Specifications

Publisher: Random House Inc
Publish Date: Jul 2012
ISBN-13: 9780812993295
ISBN-10: 0812993292
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 320
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.06
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 5.75 x 8.5 x 1.0

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2012-06-01)

Soon after his retirement from a brewery in a quiet English village, Harold Fry receives a surprising letter. It's from beloved friend and colleague Queenie Hennessy, whom he hasn't heard from in 20 years, writing from a distant terminal cancer ward to say good-bye. This letter returns Harold to a horrifically painful part of his past, threatens his already troubled marriage, and ultimately leads to a crisis that casts into doubt everything he thinks he knows about himself.

He decides to embark on a 600-mile walk to say goodbye to Queenie in person. Joyce, a former actress and acclaimed BBC scriptwriter here publishing her first novel, depicts Harold's personal crisis and the extraordinary pilgrimage it generates in masterly fashion, exploring psychological complexities with compassion and insight. The result is a novel of deep beauty and wisdom about the human condition; Harold, a deeply sympathetic protagonist, has much to teach us.

Verdict: A great novel; essential reading for fans of literary fiction.

[See Prepub Alert, 2/27/12.] - Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community Coll., CT

(c). Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Awards and Recognitions

  • Commonwealth Writers Prize, 2013 (United Kingdom)
  • American Library Association Notable Books, 2013 (United States)
  • Galaxy National Book Award, 2012 (United Kingdom)

Book description

NATIONAL BESTSELLER * LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE * NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST

"[Rachel] Joyce's beguiling debut is [a] modest-seeming story of 'ordinary' English lives that enthralls and moves you as it unfolds".-- People (four stars)

Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning a letter arrives, addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl, from a woman he hasn't heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. But before Harold mails off a quick reply, a chance encounter convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. In his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold Fry embarks on an urgent quest. Determined to walk six hundred miles to the hospice, Harold believes that as long as he walks, Queenie will live. A novel of charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry introduces Rachel Joyce as a wise--and utterly irresistible--storyteller.

Praise for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

"[A] gorgeously poignant novel of hope and transformation".-- O: The Oprah Magazine

"A cause for celebration... [Joyce] has a lovely sense of the possibilities of redemption. In this bravely unpretentious and unsentimental take, she's cleared space where miracles are still possible".--Ron Charles, The Washington Post

"The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is not just a book about lost love. It is about all the wonderful everyday things Harold discovers through the mere process of putting one foot in front of the other".--Janet Maslin, The New York Times

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