Book Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce

Title: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Author: Rachel Joyce
ISBN: 9780812993295
Pages: 336
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

Harold Fry is retired and doesn’t really know what he’s doing with his life anymore. His wife Maureen seems to want nothing to do with him. He goes through day after monotonous day, just waiting for something to happen. And something does – Harold receives a postcard from an old colleague Queenie telling him that she is dying. Harold writes back to her, and instead of walking to the mailbox to send his letter as he intends, on a whim he decides to walk 600 miles, sure that if he can just make it to see Queenie, somehow she will pull through.

Review:

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is a gem of a book in which the absolutely ordinary main character decides that he is going to do one extraordinary thing. Harold is a completely endearing man. He’s not perfect by any means. He has many regrets about his life, including letting his friendship with Queenie go and his estrangement from his son. He sets out on an almost ridiculous journey with absolutely no planning or provisions, yet the reader can’t help but adore him and his faith in the idea that there is something better out there.

Over the course of The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Harold is plagued by self-doubts and obstacles. The reader roots for him to continue his journey, to make it against all odds, yet the outcome is never certain. The novel really is a testament to the human spirit, not only that of Harold’s, but of all those who help him along the way. He meets many different people in many different circumstances, but they are good people who want to help him. It gives the reader faith in their fellow men and women.

The main focus of The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is Harold’s transformation on his journey, and how he affects those around him, including Maureen, who’s been left behind. Harold makes some very difficult realizations about himself and must come to terms with his relationship with his son. It’s absolutely wonderful to accompany these quiet, ordinary characters on this amazing journey, to see them transform before the reader’s eyes.

If the story wasn’t enough, Rachel Joyce’s writing in The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is absolutely wonderful. It really elevates the novel, makes something that could be so mundane absolutely brilliant. If you’re looking for a pensive, beautifully written novel about what it means to be human, if you want to be reminded that it’s never too late and extraordinary acts of faith are possible, this is a wonderful novel to pick up.

Affiliate Links:

Buy this book from Powell’s Books
Buy this book from Amazon.com
Buy this book from your local Indiebound bookstore

Comments

  1. I have this one to read and review as well. Sounds like I need to bump it up the list! It is just the kind of story I could use right now!

  2. I have this one to read and review as well. Sounds like I need to bump it up the list! It is just the kind of story I could use right now!

  3. I absolutely loved this novel, so lovely. It makes you think about all that is possible 🙂

  4. I absolutely loved this novel, so lovely. It makes you think about all that is possible 🙂

  5. Joyce is a fabulous writer, and this is easily one of my favorite reads of the year! It really took me by surprise, but I just fell in love with it. I always know when a book “has it” by the way I continue to think about it for months after, and Harold Fry passes the test. Glad you really enjoyed it, too!

  6. Joyce is a fabulous writer, and this is easily one of my favorite reads of the year! It really took me by surprise, but I just fell in love with it. I always know when a book “has it” by the way I continue to think about it for months after, and Harold Fry passes the test. Glad you really enjoyed it, too!

  7. This is wonderful to hear (and everyone else has loved it as well). I have it loaded on my iPod, and once I can get through my book club read and maybe The Forgotten Garden (library JUST GOT IT, OMG!) I will listen to this one. It is short, it is impactful, so to me that is a win/win.

  8. This is wonderful to hear (and everyone else has loved it as well). I have it loaded on my iPod, and once I can get through my book club read and maybe The Forgotten Garden (library JUST GOT IT, OMG!) I will listen to this one. It is short, it is impactful, so to me that is a win/win.

  9. I love how the writing made me feel like I was right there in England with him, even though I’ve never been there before. She did a fantastic job with this book.

  10. I love how the writing made me feel like I was right there in England with him, even though I’ve never been there before. She did a fantastic job with this book.

  11. So many people love this book, and I don’t know what I am waiting for! I guess I am a little afraid that I won’t love it as much as others have. It does sounds really resonant and quiet though, which are two things I really like!

  12. So many people love this book, and I don’t know what I am waiting for! I guess I am a little afraid that I won’t love it as much as others have. It does sounds really resonant and quiet though, which are two things I really like!

  13. Your review is my tipping point to look for this novel; thanks!

  14. Your review is my tipping point to look for this novel; thanks!

  15. I’m so glad you enjoyed this book – I felt very much the same!

  16. I’m so glad you enjoyed this book – I felt very much the same!

  17. Ooh, I can’t wait to read this. Great review. I hope all is well with your new place and everything else. Missing your reviews!

  18. Ooh, I can’t wait to read this. Great review. I hope all is well with your new place and everything else. Missing your reviews!

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy:  I welcome comments and read each one I receive. If your comment needs a response, I will provide it in a timely manner, as I read every comment I receive. Please keep your comments civil and polite! I reserve the right to delete any comments that are rude or inappropriate. Because of spam, I have to moderate comments on old posts. Please be patient - I will approve your comment quickly.

Before the tag in the Genesis footer: !-- Quantcast Tag -->