The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgirmage of Harold Fry cover.jpg 

This novel by Rachel Joyce (Transworld Publishers 2012) is a seemingly whimsical fiction about a retired man, similar in age to me, who walks down the hill from his house to post a letter.

When he reaches the post box he walks on to the next, and then keeps going.  He lives in the south west of England but as the hours of walking pass he decides to keep walking to the north east corner of England and deliver his letter in person.  He simply cannot stop and go back home. Along the way, as he places one deteriorating tennis shoe covered foot after the other in all weathers, he begins to see the world around him, he reflects on his life, and he attracts unwanted media attention and a gaggle of followers. Somewhere along his walk, he remits his wallet and watch and all personal effects back to his wife before continuing his walk hoping for the goodness of people to survive.  Eventually he staggers into his destination, works at removing his tangled beard and taming his weathered hair.

This is an easy read but full of insights only normally attainable by the relentless pursuit of a goal via a simplified lifestyle.  Harold Fry’s story contains both humour and sadness, and is remarkable for its exposure of the rich ordinariness of a person with a grand vision.  I recommend you read this book.

9 thoughts on “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

  1. mamamunho

    I wrote about Harold in my very first blog post! You weren’t reading the blog then so you might not have seen it but this book was part of the inspiration for me to get writing: the observation that what seems humdrum and boring to one person might be a source of interest to someone else. I’m so glad you liked it!


    1. Tasmanian traveller Post author

      How wonderful. Just shows the connections we have, the similarities of interests, and our fervours and passions. I rather like the idea that most people will find anything interesting if they slow down and really look and really think about what they are looking at – with an attitude of curiousity ‘why is this so?’.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Catherine Merrick

    I read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and thought it beautifully written and ultimately uplifting. Rachel Joyce has written what could be considered a prequel, The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy which I haven’t read yet but reviews say it is just as good.


  3. Canuck Carl

    This is the kind of story I would love to read. To be able continue this journey without a wallet places such faith on fellow humanity.

    Thank you for sharing about this book and about this author! 🙂




Please leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s