Blurb (from Goodreads) –
Recently retired, sweet, emotionally numb Harold Fry is jolted out of his passivity by a letter from Queenie Hennessy, an old friend, who he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. She has written to say she is in hospice and wanted to say goodbye. Leaving his tense, bitter wife Maureen to her chores, Harold intends a quick walk to the corner mailbox to post his reply but instead, inspired by a chance encounter, he becomes convinced he must deliver his message in person to Queenie–who is 600 miles away–because as long as he keeps walking, Harold believes that Queenie will not die.
So without hiking boots, rain gear, map or cell phone, one of the most endearing characters in current fiction begins his unlikely pilgrimage across the English countryside. Along the way, strangers stir up memories–flashbacks, often painful, from when his marriage was filled with promise and then not, of his inadequacy as a father, and of his shortcomings as a husband.
Ironically, his wife Maureen, shocked by her husband’s sudden absence, begins to long for his presence. Is it possible for Harold and Maureen to bridge the distance between them? And will Queenie be alive to see Harold arrive at her door?
My thoughts –
As a part of the 2016 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge, I had to pick a book from the recommendations of the host – http://www.girlxoxo.com, for the month of June. While going through their archives, I found this book –The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry in their Cold Weather Reading List. The name is what appealed to me at first and when I looked it up, I found the premise of the book very interesting and hence immediately placed an order on Amazon.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is a well-written book. The author took us, with Harold Fry on his unusual walk, meeting ordinary people, witnessing ordinary sights – however, all of them giving some extraordinary insights into life. Living in a loveless marriage for many years, Harold one day gets a letter from his long-lost friend cum colleague, Queenie. She had written to bid him goodbye as she was counting the last days of her life. Old memories rushed down and along with it a lot of reflections on the days gone by and also the present day. And when he went to post a reply to his friend’s letter, he takes this spontaneous decision to walk down to Queenie and say the things in person, that he wanted to write down in his reply. And thus starts the unlike pilgrimage of Harold Fry.
This is a lovely book and I am glad I found it and for that, I have to thank the ladies at Girl XOXO. 🙂 It is a story of self-discovery and I was touched with the realisations & explorations experienced by Harold Fry as he was moving forward, one foot before the other. It was like a simultaneous journey of going back in time as well as moving forward to meet Queenie and discovering oneself all over again. It is a beautiful & mature love story that delves upon the many facets of a marriage of many years as well as that of human kindness & friendships. At times, the book does get stretchy and maybe boring for many, but at the end of it one realises it is an integral part to absorb the essence of the book, so much so that towards the end of it, I did not want it to end.
I loved the journey of Harold Fry so much that I have also started reading the other side of the story told by Queenie this time, the book is called – The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. 🙂
Final Words –
A beautiful book filled with beautiful moments and some great reflections on life; I am glad I read it …..highly recommended!
This review is linked to my 2016 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge for the month of June & also Goodreads Reading Challenge, 2016.