The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Summary:
When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hovering 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.

My take: 5 looks
LOVED this book. There are so many levels to love here: the ordinary doing the extraordinary, relationships with family as well as strangers, mourning, and the simple act of observation.

Harold is a very likable, if unassuming, character. Life just happens to him as he ambles through his days. His wife seems to despise him. His son seems to avoid him. His neighbor stays at a distance.

Then comes the letter from Queenie. At first, I was confused as to why Harold felt such emotion at her news, and his compulsion to go to her. However, as the story progresses and the characters unfold, things become clearer and clearer.

And then there are the extraneous characters. For the most part, they are a positive influence on Harold and his journey. But even that takes a turn for the dark.

This is a book worth reading. On the surface, it is a sweet story of friendship, love and keeping our commitments. Underneath, it is a coming-of-age story occurring later in life. On another level, it is a novel of self-awareness. So many characters develop and change in this novel.

Very enjoyable and highly recommended.

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