The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

A Novel

Book - 2013
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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 Trade Paperback,, 2013
ISBN: 9780812983456
Characteristics: 343 pages : map ; 21 cm


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Mar 24, 2020

This book had extra significance to us in our reading project, as we have been involved in a number of pilgrimages, as observers, participants, and facilitators. Before I read the final few chapters to her, we hypothesized as to Harold's success. Her outlook was positive, mine rather dark. The denouement was surprising to both of us.
We enjoyed the descriptions of the countryside and of the people Harold meets along the way. Archetypes of the various types of participants and observers, they fairly represent the people we have met on our journeys. Joyce elucidates the disparity of purpose among them and the sometimes comical lack of understanding.

Mar 10, 2020

What a treat!! The audiobook is narrated by Jim Broadbent - one of my favorite British actors!! What a heartbreaking story of missed chances for love and understanding. Harold Fry sets out to save the life of a friend by walking over 600 miles in a pilgrimage of hope and belief. Along the way he meets people, good and bad, who further his understanding of human nature and psychological healing. I don't want to give away the ending, so I will simply heartly recommend this book!! Kristi & Abby Tabby

Feb 24, 2020

This is a gentle and well-written book about life transitions forced upon an older couple just by virtue of their having lived into their 60s. Harold Fry is informed that a co-worker from years ago is dying, and he sets out to see her before that happens. Along the way, many truths surface after years of being closeted in places we humans choose not to visit. Harold's trip is also colored by the people--and dog--he meets along the way. I highly recommend this as a reminder that we all have our secrets.

Jan 12, 2020

Old man in UK gets a letter from a woman dying, and then starts a pilgrimage to find her.

The Between the Lines Book Group will be reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry in June 2020.

Dec 23, 2019

I was at times both frustrated with Harold and rooting for this unlikely hero. His trek across the country is matched by an internal journey in which he reflects upon his relationships with his son, wife and strangers. Joyce doesn't soften this reflection - we see all of Harold's mistakes and weaknesses. But the beauty of the novel is that somewhere along the walk, amidst all of the sorrow, pain, self-doubt, Harold is able to recapture hope and desire to truly live again.

A book and character with a lot of heart.

sjpl_DanaLibrariana Sep 28, 2019

This book was not what I expected, but I truly enjoyed it nonetheless. The author did a great job creating a cast of characters with whom we can relate. It's a book about stepping outside of comfort zones, facing demons and the hard work of confronting grief and loss.

Aug 26, 2019

Tea & Talk Book Club / April 2016

Aug 03, 2019

Very enjoyable (audio book)

Dec 28, 2018

People. A well-written novel of friendship and atonement.

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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.

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.

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.”

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.”


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Jun 13, 2015

Thehippogirl25 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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


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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.


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