Join Rachel Joyce to talk about January's Book of the Month, THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY, on Tuesday 29 Jan, 9-10pm

(222 Posts)

January is all about making fresh starts, new plans and wildly unrealistic promises. Most of us fall by the wayside within days. But not Harold Fry. The hero of our Booker-longlisted, January Book of the Month, THE PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY, is a retired and unhappily married pensioner living in Devon, who receives a letter from an old friend in Berwick Upon Tweed telling him she has cancer. He writes a reply, but on his way to the postbox, he decides that this is not enough. He must walk to Berwick in person, there and then. Only this, he knows, will keep her alive. And so begins a remarkable journey through the roads, cafes, tourist centres, towns and lanes of Britain. Along the way, a cast of diverse characters support, encourage and empathise with him, eventually turning into a cult following. Meanwhile, Harold's own memories begin to bubble up, and resolve the regret and sadness that have blighted his marriage and his relationship with David, the son who dramatically left home.

An exploration of grief and regret, as well as a celebration of love, faith and hope, this is a charming, moving and peculiarly British book.

Our book of the month page has more details about THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY. You can get a paperback or Kindle edition here.

We are thrilled that Rachel will be joining us to discuss the book and answer any questions about THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY, the Booker longlist and her writing career on Tuesday 29 January, 9-10pm.

Hope you can join us...

surfandturf Thu 10-Jan-13 21:02:07

I'm almost a quarter of the way through and I'm finding it a bit slow - please tell me it gets better?

DuchessofMalfi Thu 10-Jan-13 21:34:25

I'm just about to start reading it - well, tomorrow now grin

whatphididnext Thu 10-Jan-13 22:52:24

I am not suggesting it's a Jack Reacher, but I am finding it enthralling in a gentle, sorrowful way.

I would keep at it, surfandturf. I wasn't impressed for the first bit but it gained momentum.

And yes, Hully, I had the parochial why am I reading sub-Bennet? at first.

Then it blossomed most gloriously.

Lumley36 Fri 11-Jan-13 05:24:45

Haven't been in the mindset to read for quite a few months, this book is a pleasure and has kept me reading. I love Harold and am hoping for a happy ending for him and his family....hope to finish tonight...

Clawdy Sat 12-Jan-13 11:13:12

Half-way through and pretty sure I know the twist....but hopefully might be wrong.

Hullygully Sat 12-Jan-13 14:05:06

Halfway through

There are bits that i like, and it has picked up a little, but I find the structure irritating

walk walk walk blister walk walk BACKSTORY HINT walk walk walk blister BACKSTORY HINT walk walk walk etc

Clawdy Sat 12-Jan-13 15:29:36

Harold's refusal to buy a pair of walking shoes really irritated me...didn't make sense.

gailforce1 Sat 12-Jan-13 15:55:33

Me too Clawdy! Also felt irritated that he didn't accept an ocassional lift for a few miles! I have finished and did enjoy overall but won't say any more in case of spoilers.

Hullygully Sat 12-Jan-13 17:03:18

I didn't mind that so much, the pain is part of the whole pilgrimage vibe, plus I have really been there with shops and looking at the sheer amount of stuff and just going off the whole thing.

theshooglypeg Sat 12-Jan-13 20:49:42

Hi everyone, this is my first venture into the Mumsnet book club. I read the book on my commute to work and really enjoyed it. I won't say anything else as I don't want to give anything away, but it did make my early January return to commuting more bearable!

whatphididnext Sun 13-Jan-13 09:53:55

I want us all to have finished the book so we can get down to discussing it.

I am finished but because I didn't predict the twist, I wonder if I would have read the book differently if i had had that knowledge at the start.

Anyway, I won't say more until we are all ready to discuss the book.

Clawdy Sun 13-Jan-13 11:26:35

Did guess the twist unfortunately...and near the end found myself wondering if he had a toothbrush on the journey...but having finished it have to say I was moved by the closing chapters.

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 11:46:01

guessed twist too, it was quite moving at the end, I wanted a lot more from the rest.

it's all too light for me, l like something a bit more demanding

currybaby Sun 13-Jan-13 19:32:10

I'm half way through. I am enjoying it but I REALLY want him to get some bloomin walking boots.

I'm really intrigued about the twist now..! I'm trying to work out what it could be..

Hullygully Sun 13-Jan-13 19:57:33

I was also concerned by the spring and stream water he drank, hes lucky he didn't get pesticide runoff poisoning

HellesBelles396 Sun 13-Jan-13 22:26:59

Just read first chapter - great set up. Looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

Feeling a bit sorry for Maureen. I didn't until Harold starting thinking about her and how he'd wronged her. And now he's gone off without a word...

TallulahTwinkle Mon 14-Jan-13 10:05:26

Just picked my copy up from library, can't wait to start reading it. 9 other people waiting for it after me so better get reading grin

whatphididnext Mon 14-Jan-13 10:26:21

Hullygully what do you mean by more demanding?

What are you reading at the moment?

I have just started The Last Princess by Matthew Dennison and I am enjoying it, but wish it was written more as a story and less like, "these are all the facts I know, let me cram as many as I can into each paragraph"

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 11:09:56

I like complex difficult books that demand concentration and immersion and reward you for the effort.

Having said that, I think Harold is fine as far as it goes, lots of people obvioulsy like it, I just like something with longer words ha ha

At the mo (since you ask) I am reading funny old Houllebeq's latest.

Hullygully Mon 14-Jan-13 12:24:34

Anyway, never mind all that, who cares what I like to read, let us do questions for Rachel.

Or will they be spoilers?

Should we wait?

whatphididnext Mon 14-Jan-13 12:25:44

Hullygully in French? ooh, impressive.

whatphididnext Mon 14-Jan-13 12:26:42

I think I will have to wait as all my questions feel like they are in danger of being spoilers and MNHQ would put me on the naughty step.

Clawdy Mon 14-Jan-13 12:27:41

Our book group's just finished Lermontov's Hero Of Our Time,we were divided but I loved it,have you read it,Hully?

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