Thursday, 2 August 2012
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Author: Rachel Joyce
Number of pages: 304
Started: 27 July 2012
Finished: 2 August 2012
THE LETTER that would change everything arrived on a Tuesday. It was an ordinary morning in mid-April that smelt of clean washing and grass cuttings. Harold Fry sat at the breakfast table, freshly shaved, in a clean shirt and tie, with a slice of toast that he wasn’t eating. He gazed beyond the kitchen window at the clipped lawn, which was spiked in the middle by Maureen’s telescopic washing line, and trapped on all three sides by the neighbours’ closeboard fencing.
Read a longer extract here.
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.
What I thought:
This book started well. I was rather taken by the idea of someone setting out to post a letter and keeping on walking. I liked the ordinariness of that, and also the adventure that can be embarked on a whim of sorts. I thought it was a gentle read, and one that would not suit all. Ultimately, it was a tale of a weak and routine driven man who suddenly found a purpose – that walking hundreds of miles would save someone he had not seen in about twenty years. This book was nominated for a Booker. Do I think it prize-worthy? Probably not. But it is a readable and peaceful novel.