The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - Rachel Joyce
From Amazon: "Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012: 'The odyssey of a simple man, original, subtle and touching' - Claire Tomalin
When Harold Fry leaves home one morning to post a letter, with his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other.
He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone.
All he knows is that he must keep walking.
To save someone else's life."
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Absolutely delightful - sheer reading pleasure at its very best.
Harold and Maureen are a retired couple living a quiet, mundane life in Devon, where hardly anything ever happens and they hardly ever talk to each other any more, when they do its barely an exchange of words followed by Maureens usual put down "I think not"
One day a letter arrives for Harold which informs him that an old work colleague Queenie is in a hospice in Berwick on Tweed. Harold pens a reply and walks out of the door to post it on the corner of the street, then decides to walk on to the next postbox - then the next until postboxes become towns and he just carries on walking deciding to deliver the letter by hand. As he walks he reminisces and we begin to realise there was something between him and Queenie, his story is gradually revealed as his walk continues and its evident that there are many things lurking beneath the surface of his and Maureens relationship.
Back at home Maureen struggles to adapt to life without him, she talks to their son David and strikes up a friendship with an elderly neighbour and as days turn into weeks Harolds walk becomes a pilgrimage which stands for so much more than delivering a letter by hand.
Along the way he meets many unusual characters, the misfits and the lonely and learns more about himself than he bargained on.
With quirky flashes of humour, and moments of poignant tenderness the story is a little darker than I imagined it would be, although its essentially a love story it had me reduced to tears on the Arriva bus trying to pretend I had hayfever!
Loved it - highly recommended!
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