The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

The story of Harold and his pilgrimage got off to an interesting start.  I enjoyed the first few chapters before it began to get a little tedious.  For what felt like the longest time, Harold merely puts one foot in front of the other as he recounts the various miseries of his life.  I was disappointed to realise, at this stage, that despite what had gone before and, after consulting the map provided in the book, Harold had barely begun his journey.  The fact that I was already slightly bored with the way the book was going did not bode well with the fact that he had only completed about a fifth of his journey!  It’s a pity because some parts of the story were really endearing and the story touches on some heartfelt and emotional issues but I just couldn’t connect with the ‘wooden’ nature of both Harold and his wife, Maureen.

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. 

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. ‘ (Goodreads)

I feel awful that I didn’t enjoy this book more – it got so many great reviews and came as a ‘Recommended Read’ on Goodreads but, alas, it wasn’t meant to be!

 

I give this book THREE COFFEE CUPS ☕☕☕

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