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  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

  • By: Rachel Joyce
  • Narrated by: Jim Broadbent
  • Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (3,547 ratings)

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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

By: Rachel Joyce
Narrated by: Jim Broadbent
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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Winner: New Writer of the Year – Specsavers National Book Awards 2012.

When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving 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.

Harold Fry is the most ordinary of men. He just might be a hero for us all.

Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent has starred in a huge range of films, from British favourites including Bridget Jones, Hot Fuzz and The Iron Lady, to Hollywood blockbusters such as Moulin Rouge, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and the Harry Potter films. He is set to star in the upcoming film adaptation of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

©2012 Rachel Joyce (P)2012 Random House AudioGo

Critic reviews

“From the moment I met Harold Fry, I didn't want to leave him. Impossible to put down.” (Erica Wagner, The Times)

“Harold Fry is infuriating, hilarious and completely out of his depth, but I held my breath at his every blister and cramp and, felt, as if by turning the pages, I might help his impossible quest succeed. Marvellous!” (Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand)

“A magical, moving and uplifting tale about a man's journey across Britain and into his own heart.” (Deborah Moggach)
“I loved this book. I loved its purity, its brutality and unerring honesty. I don't think I have read such richly composed metaphors before. They are like shooting stars glittering across each page. I can't believe this is her first novel- I wait with bated breath for her next.” (Natascha McElhone)

“The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry isn’t just a book I enjoyed reading, it’s a book I feel lucky to have read. It takes the most ordinary and unassuming of men and turns him into a hero for us all. Harold Fry faces the same questions we all do as we age, questions about the meaning of our lives, faith and love, but confronts them in a most surprising way. To go on this journey with him will not only break your heart, it might also just heal it.” (Tiffany Baker, New York Times best-selling author of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County)

What listeners say about The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A memorable, moving and marvellous story

Thanks to a friend’s recommendation I listened to this exceptional book. I was swept along eagerly wanting to hear how Howard’s journey to save Queenie Hennessy, would end. On impulse he embarks on a journey on foot from the South West of England to Berwick-on-Tweed in the belief that this will keep his former colleague, now suffering from terminal cancer, alive. Why he feels he needs to do this isn’t revealed until near the end. It’s a pilgrimage without a religious basis, though there are episodes that remind one of biblical stories and later parts of his journey have echoes of the Canterbury Tales when other ‘pilgrims’ join him. It is a deeply moving story that delves deep into human relationships and how resentments and misunderstandings can fester and sour a marriage. The book is steeped in melancholy, leavened by humorous episodes.

The author couldn’t have a better narrator than Jim Broadbent. As I listened to his lovely voice tinged with sadness and regret I could picture him trudging the roads North. It sounds depressing: but it isn’t. It’s an uplifting story of how an ordinary man can do something extraordinary and get redemption by his simple courage. I think it’s a marvellous book and I look forward to listening to the companion book telling the story from Queenie’s perspective.

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46 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • mr
  • 06-05-12

Makes for a tired dog

This is so far the best book i have got off audible, I buy my books here to keep me company while i walk the dog and its a testament to how good this book is that i kept finding diversions to walk just a bit further and hear a little more. The story is engaging and inspiring. One of the major plot points is predictable but when revealed is no less dramatic or heartfelt. I would add though that Jim Broadbent really adds great things to the story telling and gives the characters life.

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42 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I didn't get it

I have absolute respect for the people who found this moving and life enhancing but I'm afraid I couldn't really get into the emotional swing of this book. The propect of an elderly man walking from Devon to Berwick upon Tweed to visit a dying friend was already daunting but the feeling I was embarking on a journey that slowly revealed a life filled with sadness and regret was too much. It was when I realised I was switching on this audio book while filled with a sense of gloom that I decided enough is enough.

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37 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Gentle but engaging

I really enjoyed this story. I was engaged with the narrative from the beginning, and though never thrilling or demanding, it held my attention throughout and made me look forward to my next chance to listen. The story was sometimes soothing, sometimes moving, always interesting and overall an uplifting read (I wish there were more of these!).

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36 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Choose it at all costs

I'm surprised that I'm only the second person to rate this wonderful audio book as I'm sure it's destined to become a best seller. The story is quite 'Sue Townsendesque' but none the worse for that. A profoundly moving and beautifully narrated story that now probably takes pride of place as being my favourite Audible selection so far. It's a shame I can't give it 6 stars!

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31 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Poignant and uplifting

I had never heard of this book, but chose it because it seemed to be about walking, something I enjoy. The book was not at all what I was expecting, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Much of the book is very poignant and sad as it reveals quiet desperation behind seemingly ordinary lives. I was immediately caught up in Howard's mission and willing him on every step of the way. The end was very satisfying, suggesting that it is never too late for redemption and hope for the future. I found it very uplifting. I would recommend this book to anyone as a very worthwhile read.

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28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Start, But Slows Down

What made the experience of listening to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry the most enjoyable?

I think Jim Broadbent's narration - tha'ts not to take anything away from the story, which is very good, but if there's a better example of casting for an audiobook, I'm yet to see it.

What other book might you compare The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry to, and why?

This is a bit of a departure form the usual Crime & Thriller titles I usually listen to, so I couldn't accurate make a comparison.

What does Jim Broadbent bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He makes the character. He is Harold and Harold is him, at first I thought I might find the book a little depressing as Jim Broadbent doesn't have the most upbeat of voices, but the emotion he conveys is incredible.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Harold Fry is going for a walk. A long walk.

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25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A memorable book

One that will stay with me for a long time. Driving down the M6 fighting back the tears may not seem like a good thing, though at other times I was smiling and even laughing. A wonderful, life-enhancing book.

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22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully moving and unusual story

The reviews convinced me to try this story...and they did not let me down. A well told and beautifully narrated human story about everyday life regrets and the occasionally exceptional. Highly recommended.

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17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Exquisite - a road 'movie' with a difference.

There is pain, love, lose, peace, sadness and also joy and laughter, but I think this book is very much like a mirror to your own life experience. I am sure if I read this book a decade ago it would be different for me but still doesn't take away from the fact that it is touchingly written and beautifully read.

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17 people found this helpful