The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel
Book for March 2014
Group 1
Harold Fry, 65, has cut the lawn when he receives a letter. A colleague of twenty years ago, Queenie Hennessy, has cancer and is in a hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed. The doctors say there is nothing more that can be done for her. He writes her a feeble and brief note and goes to post it, has second thoughts, and walks to the next post box, and the next. He phones the hospice from a call box and leaves a message. He is coming and she should wait, stay alive while he makes the journey. A girl at the petrol filling station where he stops for a snack says something that acts as a catalyst for his nascent project. He tells her he is on foot, posting a letter to someone with cancer. 'If you have faith you can do anything’ she replies, but quickly disclaims any religious reference.

As he begins the walk which in 87 days will cover 627 miles, he reflects. About his marriage, his former employment as a brewery representative, about his son David, from whom he is almost completely estranged. From stopping places he fires off postcards, to his wife Maureen (whose name may be a covert tribute to the Maureen of David Lodge's pilgrimage novel Therapy Therapy), to Queenie, and to the unnamed girl at the filling station who gave him inspiration for his journey.
About the Author
Rachel Joyce
is a British author. She has written plays for BBC Radio Four, and jointly won the 2007 Tinniswood Award for her To Be a Pilgrim.

Her debut novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, was on the longlist for the 2012 Man Booker Prize. In December 2012, she was awarded the "New Writer of the Year" award by the National Book Awards for the novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Her second novel, Perfect, was published on 4th July 2013 to critical acclaim. She lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and four children.