December 27, 2012

Book Review - The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Harold Fry has been retired for some months when he gets a letter from a woman he had worked with many years before. As a result, he sets off, unexpectedly, on a walking pilgrimage to the nursing home where she is dying of cancer. Harold is an unassuming quiet man who has had an unexciting life but as he walks, he gains a broader perspective:

"He had learned that it was the smallness of people that filled him with wonder and tenderness, and the loneliness of that too. The world was made up of people putting one foot in front of the other; and a life may appear ordinary simply because the person living it had done so for a long time. Harold could no longer pass a stranger without acknowledging the truth that everyone was the same, and also unique; and that this was the dilemma of being human."

This a beautiful novel, full of immersive descriptions of the countryside and gentle observations of people. How Harold and his wife deal with the emerging issues from their lives is an addictive read, and a redemptive one.


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