The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Author: Rachel Joyce
Publisher: Black Swan
Published: March 01, 2013
paperback, 384 pages

Harold Fry is a 65-year-old man that having a sad and lonely life. After married for 47 years, Harold and his wife, Maureen feel that the relationship is getting bitter. They still live together but deep down inside they have never felt closed to each other anymore.  Moreover after their only son, David, committed suicide.

One day Harold received a letter from his old friend, Queenie Hennessy, who told him that she is dying of cancer and now at a hospital 627 miles away from Harold's home. Harold decides to reply the letter only but after having a short chat with an unnamed girl at the filling station who says, "if you have faith, you can do anything,"  he at last decides to have a walk the entire length of England in hope of keeping Queenie alive.  

This unprepared journey shakes Harold from his monotonous life. As he travels, he finds out all about the wonderful everyday things, such as there is fresh air and open sky outside his unhappy home and there is even lots of nice people along the way who voluntarily help him by giving a shelter or just a full support.

As he walks alone, he has lots of time to ponder. he begins to realize about his dead son and their bad relationship, his own mother who abandoned him, the sweetness of dying Queenie and also his cold marriage with his wife. The walk takes 87 days and covers 627 miles. Started as a private journey but later on it attracts the press and  several followers who consider themselves as  fellow pilgrims.

A simple story with a great effect. As the author, Rachel Joyce, said that this story was dedicated to her father who had spent years fighting a battle with cancer and finally could not make it. Some parts of Harold Fry character was after her father. That's the reason why she wrote a simple story about an ordinary man who keeps going. As she said in the acknowledgements of the book, " I wanted to write something life-affirming at the point when I was losing the person I most wanted to keep. I wanted to write something with my heart in it -- that would also makes him laugh."  

2 comments:

ferina December 17, 2013 at 9:12 AM  

aku suka buku ini, mbak...

riana December 18, 2013 at 7:29 AM  

iya fer, cerita yg sederhana tapi amat sangat menyentuh, makin terharu lagi pas baca proses pengarangnya mempersiapkan buku ini :)