Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Posted by nliakos on May 13, 2014

by Rachel Joyce (Doubleday 2012)

Harold Fry is your basic nebish who sets out to mail a letter to a former colleague who is dying of cancer. . . . and keeps walking. He walks from Kingsbridge on England’s southwest coast, all the way to Berwick-upon-Tweed on the North Sea coast, on the Scottish border, a distance of 627 miles. It takes him almost three months. Along the way, he learns to savor the joys of being outside (even though most of his route is along main roads!); he meets many different people (and one special dog), shares his story with them, and listens to their stories; and perhaps most importantly, he revisits and confronts his painful memories. At the same time, his estranged wife Maureen is forced by Harold’s absence to confront her own demons. Harold cannot save his friend Queenie, but he does manage to save himself. . . and Maureen.  Sprinkled throughout are little lessons or realizations, like, “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 done 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.”  A fantastic book.

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