Reader reviews and comments on The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, plus links to write your own review.

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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

A Novel

by Rachel Joyce

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce X
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2012, 336 pages
    Mar 2013, 368 pages

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There are currently 29 reader reviews for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
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Rosemary S. (Somers, NY) (07/16/12)

Put This on Your Reading LIst!
I never would have guessed that a book about an elderly man, Harold, who walks over six hundred miles, would be so intriguing and enlightening. What could have been a slow moving story, about ordinary people, and ordinary lives, became a fascinating tale of hope, discovery, and love. I will be using this book as my pick for our monthly book club, and I believe it will lead to a fascinating discussion. This book led me to think about life, death, marriage, friendship, religion, guilt, blame, obligation, fame, and so much more.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I look forward to reading more books by this new author.
Barbara H. (Alexandria, VA) (07/15/12)

A walk that can drag
Harold Fry is a recent retiree living in a small English village and has a sense of overall failure as a son, as a husband and as a father. His cross-England walking trip to visit an old co-worker begins almost by mistake.

Along the way, Harold meets many other individuals and becomes aware of “the inhumane effort to be normal, and a part of things that appeared both easy and everyday.” He appears to be walking away from the person he used to be and toward the one he wished to be, the theme of pilgrimage.

The author takes establishes Harold and his estranged wife, Maureen, as characters coping with grief and love, to excess. The author also overplays the group of people who want to sponge off the publicity Harold begins receiving. This section drags.

I cheered for Harold and wanted him to overcome his impossible odds, perhaps because he might affirm my and others need to believe we can bring changes in our own lives.

For the most part, I enjoyed the journey.
Carol Rosen pompton lakes, NJ (07/14/12)

Philosophically Sound Yet Slow
A new spin on a road trip takes the reader through a journey of relationship and intimacy challenges with particular focus on moving from guilt and regret to redemption and forgiveness. If you like a heady slow moving book this is for you. I found it to be slow moving and predictable in terms of the human revelations. I did enjoy the sense of mystery that made me wonder what had happened earlier on amongst the characters. This was the one thing that kept me going to the end. I can see how others may love this book. Just not for me.
Joan N. (Evanston, IL) (07/14/12)

A Walk into One's Depth
As I read along, I was captivated by the prose and the premise: a retired man walking great distances to be at the bedside of a woman he worked with who was in hospice. I wondered how the author would be able to sustain the story - step after step, what could be of interest? I found myself drawn into the depths of this ordinary man who decides one day to do an extraordinary thing. And in doing so he finds himself and he reclaims his life.
Karen J. (Bremerton, WA) (07/10/12)

Patience Well Rewarded
The narrative of this story, like Harold Fry’s journey, starts out ploddingly slow and I was tempted to push it aside. Gradually, however, I was drawn in, knowing Harold’s quest to be impossible yet wanting to believe otherwise. For me, the richness in this tale was in the journey itself, not the destination although once reached, I found the conclusion sweetly satisfying and my patience well rewarded. In an interview the author was quoted as saying her book was about ordinary people dealing with extraordinary things in ordinary ways. This is no ordinary book. I shall be recommending it to my friends. Great book for reading clubs.
Kim E. (Warrenton, va) (07/10/12)

Harold Fry is a must read...
I loved this book. It is not my usual style of reading, but it was immeasurably rewarding to follow Harold Fry across England. I had to often stop and hug my family as I came across yet another poignant moment. This book wakes you up and shines a light on how little moments add up to a chasm of words left unsaid. Sometimes stepping out of my usual genre takes me to unexpected places, and this book is not to be missed.
Janet P. (Houston, TX) (07/09/12)

An "unlikely journey" indeed!
If the "meek shall inherit the earth," certainly Harold Fry in Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry will be among the crowd. In his allegorical five hundred mile foot journey in a pair of yachting shoes to save the cancer-ridden Queenie from the fangs of the Grim Reaper, Harold meets many obstacles, but like a knight on a quest, nothing will deter him from his goal. A college professor once told me that it is not the object of reaching one's goal in life that is of the greatest important, it is that we, like Harold, continue the journey, for it is in the knowledge that we gain that we meet ourselves. The journey is all. Harold's journey is, in a way, a triumph. And then there is Maureen, Harold's wife, who has been literally abandoned and ... who is almost another story.
Joyce's narrative tugs at our heartstrings and forces readers to delve into their own pasts, dragging buried failings of their own out into the light. Harold's epiphany should provide good reading as well as food for thought for all who undergo the journey.
Patricia K. (Iowa) (07/09/12)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
It is said you can't judge a book by its cover; the same could be said for Harold Fry, who, like many of us, has never done a thing out of the ordinary in his whole life. Yet as Harold undertakes a very uncharacteristic journey--on foot--to see his dying friend one last time, the reader is privy to Harold's thoughts and feelings. How those thoughts and feelings define Harold's humanity is something we can all relate to. I loved this book, not only for the storyline that kept me wondering if Harold would get to his friend in time, but also because it caused me to reconsider my own life journey...and what truly matters in the end. I think we can all find a bit of Harold—and Maureen—in ourselves, and, with a bit of introspection, find the great gift that comes with being open…open to experiences, open to others, open to life.

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