Book Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

 "Beginnings could happen more than once or in different ways. You could think you were starting something afresh, when actually what you were doing was carrying on as before.”

---Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry

The novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce was released in 2012. Joyce's debut novel was a long-list finalist (top 12) for the 2012 Man Booker Prize, and the book earned Joyce the UK National Book Award for New Writer of the Year. It was also the best-selling hardback book by a debut author in the United Kingdom in 2012. The initial version of Joyce's Harold Fry narrative was a brief radio drama that was performed by Anton Rogers, Anna Massey, and Niamh Cusack and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She dedicated the piece to her father, who was battling illness but passed away before he could see or hear it. Later, the play was expanded into a whole novel.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn't seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.

Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then, as happens in the very best works of fiction, Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. And thus begins the unlikely pilgrimage. Harold Fry is determined to walk six hundred miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live.

Still in his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold embarks on his urgent quest across the countryside. Along the way he meets one character after another, each of whom unlocks his long-dormant spirit and sense of promise. Memories of his first dance with Maureen, his wedding day, his joy in fatherhood, come rushing back to him - allowing him to also reconcile the losses and the regrets. As for Maureen, she finds herself missing Harold for the first time in years.

And then there is the unfinished business with Queenie Hennessy.

My reaction to the novel...

Most of the time, I choose to go to the bookshop rather than shop since it made me feel calmer. When I see books, I do in fact have a heart flutter. Fiction, thrillers, romance, mysteries, and suspense are a few examples of possible genres. Any topic you want, I'll read it. I therefore found Rachel Joyce's book and was interested in it. I'm not sure if it was the cover or the summary, but it definitely got my interest.

I was really heartbroken after completing the book. I was completely unprepared for that scenario involving him, his son, and his wife, and it certainly made my heart tremble. It left a lasting effect on me and appeared reasonable in light of actual events. In spite of the fact that at first sight it could appear as though they were only arguing over inconsequential things, as you read on, you'll understand exactly how deep their sorrow and loneliness were, thus the dispute he had with his wife was reasonable. Harold Fry's entire being was obsessed with yearning, both as a kid and a father. This made it difficult for him to move on and let go.

This book will teach you about faith. That a person's life might be saved by merely believing. You may also understand that we may meet individuals along the route who will either help us, give us courage, or desert us if situations go rough. Whatever happens, we must live on, and we might even have to journey alone to get where we're going. Actually, after the first three chapters, I started to become bored and thought about switching books to read, but I used all of my patience and got a terrific story in return.

Along with the tale of Harold Fry's quest to save his friend Queenie, this book also features a complicated storyline that readers must decipher. It broke my heart and made me feel bad for him.

I will without a doubt recommend it to everyone, not just bookworms but also those who want to start reading. I will love and remember this book for a very long time.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨(4.5)

"If we can’t accept what we don’t know, there really is no hope.”

As people, we are not faultless. Even if we have a lot of life experience, there are still certain things that we don't know. A intelligent person, in my opinion, realizes when he or she can admit to not understanding something.

"It was not a life, if lived without love.”

Since humans are unable to survive without love, this statement applies to me. Life is centered on love, which is the essence of everything.


Disclaimer: Booksreadbyhannel is not a business website. The opinions expressed here are unbiased and based only on my own feelings and reactions while reading the books I featured here in my blog. My reviews reflect my utmost sincerity. I paid for the books I review here out of my own pocket. Books provided by authors and publishers are otherwise specified.