Monday, August 19, 2013

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - Rachel Joyce

A dysfunctional childhood in an unhappy family creates a troubled man. Recently retired and lost in a troubled marriage, Harold Fry receives a letter from a woman he once worked with. She is residing in a hospice, suffering from cancer and she has written Harold to say goodbye. The specter of the loss of an old work mate spurs Harold to write a letter in return, but on the way to post it, a strange thing happens. Harold is inspired to go see his friend, Queenie. He does it the simplest way he knows how; he sets off on foot. Thus begins the unlikely pilgrimage that will take Harold Fry much farther than his feet could ever carry him. His is a mental, physical, and spiritual pilgrimage that, in its solitude, forces him to trod old paths of memory and confront his 'ghosts in the closet'.

Along the way, Harold meets the most amazing group of people and each spur him to reflect on issues that he has buried deep rather than confront. Some people help and inspire him and some make him retreat and repeat mistakes of his past that, on the second go around, he is able to evaluate with more honesty and self-reflection. Always, this story is written with gentle humor, candor, and yes, some pain for it digs deep into the joys and sorrows of marital relationships, parenting, family dynamics, and society's foibles.

A very good read ...

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