thejonesgal, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by thejonesgal)
An inspiring book about memory, forgiveness and learning to really listen. Learning that the world we think we live in is not always what it seems.
Harold journeys to meet an old friend. He meets many people along the way. Some take advantage of him. Some encourage him. Some, like his wife are left behind to learn their own lessons. I learned that love and family are not always easy but they are well worth fighting for.
Vera Fessler, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Vera Fessler)
A very mindful story of an ordinary person struggling with the regrets of a lifetime and coming to peace with himself, accepting the tragedies and triumphs, joys and sorrows which have haunted him.
Harold embarks on a walk to a friend whom he has not seen for over two decades. The friend is in hospice and has penned him a farewell. Without intention, plan, or expections, Harold impulsively walks, convinced he can save his friend. His solitary and often painful walk leads Harold to honestly confront the past, and as his quest gains attention, he learns that his pilgrimage is too personal and demanding to share, and his integrity demands remaining solitary.
North Woods Reader, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by North Woods Reader)
I can't remember the last time I so fully enjoyed a book! And I read a lot. It was a complete delight... it was light and heavy at the same time- it hit all the notes- funny, serious, sad, uplifting. I became very attached to Harold and have recommended this book to everyone.
cd coleman, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by cd coleman)
Like an Anne Tyler novel but darker, deeper, perhaps even wiser. The book is stunning with insight about the damage people do to themselves and to one another, how they suffer, but how they can find their way back. It got off to a slow start for me, and I wondered if Harold was worth considering, but then I began to realize that question was the point.
"He had learned it was the smallness of people that filled him with wonder and tenderness, and the loneliness of that too. 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. Harold could no longer pass a stranger without acknowledging the truth that everyone was the same, and also unique; and that this was the dilemma of being human."
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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
0 stars -
Random House -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"When Harold Fry, a morbidly shy, retired British brewery salesman, decides on a whim to walk the distance between his home in southern England and the hospice where his long-lost friend, Queenie Hennessey, is dying of cancer, he has no idea that his act will change his life and inspire hundreds of people. The motivation behind the trek and why he is burdened by guilt and the need to atone, are gradually revealed in this initially captivating but finally pedestrian first novel by English writer Joyce. During Harold's arduous trek, which covers 627 miles and 87 days, he uncoils the memory of his destructive rampage for which Queenie took the blame. He also acknowledges the unraveling of his marriage and his anguish about the lack of intimacy with his son. Plagued by doubt and exhaustion, he undergoes a dark night of the soul, but in the tradition of classical pilgrimages, he ultimately achieves spiritual affirmation. Joyce writes with precision about the changing landscape as Harold trudges his way across England. Early chapters of the book are beguiling, but a final revelation tests credulity, and the sentimental ending may be an overdose of what the Brits call 'pudding.' Agent: Conville & Walsh Literary Agency. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
by O: The Oprah Magazine,
"[A] gorgeously poignant novel of hope and transformation."
by Minneapolis Star Tribune,
"You have to love Harold Fry, a man who set out one morning to mail a letter and then just kept going....Like Christian in John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, Harold becomes Everyman in the eyes of those who encounter him....Harold's journey, which parallels Christian's nicely but not overly neatly, takes him to the edge of death and back again. It will stick with you, this story of faith, fidelity and redemption."
by Washington Post,
"For all of us perfectly responsible, stoop-shouldered suburbanites wearing a path in the living-room carpet, Harold's ridiculous journey is a cause for celebration. This is Walter Mitty skydiving. This is J. Alfred Prufrock not just eating that peach, but throwing the pit out the window, rolling up his trousers and whistling to those hot mermaids. Released from the cage of his own passivity, Harold feels transformed, though he keeps his tie on....In this bravely unpretentious and unsentimental tale, she's cleared space where miracles are still possible."
by USA Today,
"[R]emarkable....I can't think of a better recommendation for summer reading. And take your time, just as Harold does."
by Janet Maslin, New York Times,
"[A] story of present-day courage...about how easily a mousy, domesticated man can get lost and how joyously he can be refound."
by Cleveland Plain Dealer,
"From its charming beginning to its startling and cathartic denouement, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is a comic and tragic joy."
by Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank,
"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."
by Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife,
"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."
by Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand,
"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."
by Erica Wagner, The Times (UK),
"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."
by Claire Tomalin, author of Charles Dickens: A Life,
"The odyssey of a simple man...original, subtle and touching."
by Tiffany Baker, author of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County,
"The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry takes the most ordinary and unassuming of men and turns him into a hero for us all. To go on this journey with Harold will not only break your heart, it might just also heal it."
"A gentle and genteel charmer, brimming with British quirkiness yet quietly haunting in its poignant and wise examination of love and devotion. Sure to become a book-club favorite."
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