Hardback: 296 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday 2012
Source: Tywyn Library
First Sentences: The letter that would change everything arrived on a Tuesday. It was an ordinary morning in mid-April that smelt of clean washing and grass cuttings.
Favourite Quote: “It was not a life, if lived without love.”
Review Quote: "Distinguished by remarkable confidence... Polished to perfection... Joyce's experience as a playwright shows in her ear for dialogue and eye for character diatom - even the walk-on parts stay with you as real people. She handles her material with deceptive lightness but Harold's journey towards a better version of himself is totemic. To read about him is to be moved to follow him" (Daily Telegraph)
Literary Awards: Man Booker Prize Nominee for Longlist (2012), Desmond Elliott Prize Nominee (2012), Japanese Booksellers Award Nominee for Translated Fiction (2014)
My Opinion: I loved this, cannot understand why it has taken me four years since it was published to get round to reading and even now it was only because it was chosen for my book club. An indication of just how much I enjoyed 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' is that I have already added 'The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy' which was published in 2014, to my wishlist.
The protagonist Harold Fry walks 627 miles in 87 days to visit a dying friend, from the first time I met him on the printed page I felt I wanted to support his endeavour. It is a novel that once started you do not want to put down. Sad, beautifully moving, yet it will also make you laugh. Highly recommended.
Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:
Harold Fry is convinced that he must deliver a letter to an old friend 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.
Recently retired, sweet, emotionally numb Harold Fry is jolted out of his passivity by a letter from Queenie Hennessy, an old friend, who he hasn't heard from in twenty years. She has written to say she is in hospice and wanted to say goodbye. Leaving his tense, bitter wife Maureen to her chores, Harold intends a quick walk to the corner mailbox to post his reply but instead, inspired by a chance encounter, he becomes convinced he must deliver his message in person to Queenie--who is 600 miles away--because as long as he keeps walking, Harold believes that Queenie will not die.
So without hiking boots, rain gear, map or cell phone, one of the most endearing characters in current fiction begins his unlikely pilgrimage across the English countryside. Along the way, strangers stir up memories--flashbacks, often painful, from when his marriage was filled with promise and then not, of his inadequacy as a father, and of his shortcomings as a husband.
Ironically, his wife Maureen, shocked by her husband's sudden absence, begins to long for his presence. Is it possible for Harold and Maureen to bridge the distance between them? And will Queenie be alive to see Harold arrive at her door?
Video Trailer for ' The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry ' Courtesy of YouTube
My review for 'Perfect' by Rachel Joyce was published on my blog in 2015
LindyLouMac's Book Reviews - Perfect
Rachel Joyce lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and four children. She has written over 20 original afternoon plays for BBC Radio 4, and major adaptations for both the Classic Series, Woman's Hour and also a TV drama adaptation for BBC 2. In 2007 she won the Tinniswood Award for best radio play. She 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, winning a Time Out Best Actress award and the Sony Silver.
Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.
Goodreads Author Profile YouTube Video Rachel Joyce - Author Official Website
Amazon Author Page