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On Our Bookshelves: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

NOVEL: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

AUTHOR: Rachel Joyce

YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2012

REVIEW:

Pensioner Harold Fry receives an unexpected letter from Queenie Hennessy, a long lost colleague he has not seen for decades.  Queenie tells Harold that she is dying from cancer.

Harold leaves his home to post Queenie a letter of encouragement.

But in front of the post box, Harold falters.  At the spur of the moment, Harold makes a bold resolution: he must visit Queenie in person.  He must see her personally, and on foot, believing that his arduous campaign will at least prolong her life, if not revive her altogether.

Harold treads on, one step at a time, in his 600-mile journey from the obscure Devon town of Kingsbridge to Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland just below Scotland.  The snag? Harold is not suitably dressed, equipped, or prepared for this mission.

It is just a leap of faith.

During 80-odd days of solitary walking, Harold has time to revisit his rather unpleasant, and unaccomplished past.  But through his occasional pensive retrospection, Harold slowly learns to let go of all the regrets and remorse in life, and move on with a new start in his remaining days.

“The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” — the debut novel of Rachel Joyce, a British playwright and author — is poignant, sentimental, and beautifully-written. In all, a well-executed and moving adventure.

RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best): Four Whistles

HOW TO PURCHASE: AmazoneBay

ALSO ON OUR BOOKSHELVES:

Bonjour Tristesse, Francoise Sagan

Bunker Hill, Nathan Philbrick

Burmese Days, George Orwell

Cannery Row, John Steinbeck

Ringworld, Larry Niven

Rose Madder, Stephen King

The Dancer of Izu, Kawabata Yasunari

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Art Courtesy of Robcartorres / Shutterstock.com