The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

theunlikelypilgrimageofharoldfry

Harold Fry is retired and feels life has been a disappointment.  He and his wife, Maureen, no longer sleep in the same room and barely communicate; while she finds odd jobs to fill her days waiting for their son to visit (who hasn’t been in contact for twenty years). When Harold learns his old friend, Queenie, is dying, he sets out to post her a letter.  As he walks to, and beyond, the post box, simply posting a letter begins to feel inadequate, so he decides to walk all the way to Berwick-upon-Tweed from Devon as a way of saving her. The walk opens up space and time for Harold and Maureen (still waiting in Devon) to remember how they came to be a couple who don’t communicate and how and why Harold couldn’t connect to his son.

I absolutely loved it.  It’s the sort of book you want to hug and squeeze.  I ached for Harold and the people he meets along the way. It’s beautifully written and exactly the kind of writing I like: complex, full characters and emotion in simple understated prose.

It’s a quiet book, but (if you’ll allow me a cliché) impossible to put down. Funny and touching and hopeful and sad.

Argh, so gorgeous.

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