Saturday, 9 February 2013

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce has the eponymous hero travelling from Devon to Berwick one step at a time, initially one postbox at a time.

A bittersweet story, about an essentially lonely man (even though he is married) travelling to say goodbye a dying friend who we find out he thinks he has wronged. His apparent estrangement from his wife and son, is explained through the book and his rise and 'fall' as a folk hero as the story of his journey is becomes more widely known is interesting.

This book is full of different themes and kept my interest throughout, it could easily have been a story of a man who finds himself (which in part it is) with public acclaim and everything is rosy for this reluctant hero. The book is more than this, there is elements of his journey helping others but some of it is people being able to tell their secrets to a stranger because they know they are never going to meet again. Cult of celebrity comes under the microscope a bit, as do many other issues that would be a spoiler if revealed here.

I enjoyed this book and I can see why some recommendation sites are linking it with The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. There are links but they are very different books the latter is an adventure book in many cases (I know that is a little unfair on such a good book), this book is a more personal account. On the Kindle version several portions of the book, usually relating to the more philosophic parts, have been highlighted by many readers. This is not a 'heavy' book it is accessible without insulting the reader.

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