Sunday 24 August 2014

Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

When Harold Fry receives a letter from a former work colleague, Queenie Hennessy, who is seriously ill, he knows that simply posting a reply will not be enough. Without proper equipment, or his mobile phone, Harold leaves his comfortable lounge room to set off on a six hundred mile journey. After a chance encounter in a service station, Harold believes he can keep Queenie alive as long as he keeps walking. Over eighty-seven days he walks from Kingsbridge in the south of England, to Berwick-on-Tweed near the Scottish border hoping he will arrive in time to say thank you for a kindness Queenie once did him.

As Harold makes his pilgrimage he undergoes a transformation, discovering friendship in unlikely places and a capacity he didn’t think he had to confront the memories he carries about his relationship with his wife and his son.

This book deals with the themes of families, ageing, grief, self-reliance, friendship and hope.

It will make you laugh. And it will make you cry. But most of all it will remind you about why random acts of kindness make a difference.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Rachel Joyce, 2012
Black Swan
357 pp.
ISBN 9780552778091

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