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...

brendarenda Tue 29-Jan-13 22:00:19

In my mind Maureen was Penelope Wilton.

RachelJoyce Tue 29-Jan-13 22:00:54

HellesBelles396

The audio book is definitely going on my wish list.

My watershed moment in the book wasn't any of the reveals - it was Maureen taking down the nets...

But that is a VERY IMPORTANT moment - and yet it is small.

Janimoso Tue 29-Jan-13 22:00:57

Hi there, for me, the most moving part, which made me cry, was when queenie hears her name being called just like when she was a wee gir. What a nice touch and that will stay with me. A wee sad but gentle story. Lovely. Well done :-)

We've run out of time, so I would like to say a very wholehearted thank you to everyone for all their messages and questions - it has been one of the most interesting and engaging bookclub chats we've ever had.

Most of all: Rachel, thank you very very much indeed for your time, energy and generosity. Your answers have been so honest and illuminating, we really appreciate having that insight into the book.

Good luck with the next project, we'll all be looking forward to reading it (and to seeing Harold on the big screen sometime soon...)

Many thanks and congratulations again on a wonderful book.

MummyBarrow Tue 29-Jan-13 22:01:12

If it had been done by Hollywood it wouuld have been Tom bleedin' Cruise. he gets them all.

gaelicsheep Tue 29-Jan-13 22:01:24

Is he really? I truly didn't realise that!

I loved the book and agree about the groupies' presence. They are irritating but they're supposed to be- the contrast for me that made me want to regain the peace that Harold is so desperate for himself.

If you come back for the other web chat Rachel, what Mumsnet nickname would you choose?

Thank you for a great book and a fascinating chat tonight.

HellesBelles396 Tue 29-Jan-13 22:01:52

I think you need to have lived both with (my childhood) and without (my adulthood) nets to think so!

RachelJoyce Tue 29-Jan-13 22:02:40

[quote TillyBookClub]We've run out of time, so I would like to say a very wholehearted thank you to everyone for all their messages and questions - it has been one of the most interesting and engaging bookclub chats we've ever had.

Most of all: Rachel, thank you very very much indeed for your time, energy and generosity. Your answers have been so honest and illuminating, we really appreciate having that insight into the book.

Good luck with the next project, we'll all be looking forward to reading it (and to seeing Harold on the big screen sometime soon...)

Many thanks and congratulations again on a wonderful book.

But thank you from me. I have had a lovely evening. I just wish I could type faster..

Sleep tight, mums

CuriousMama Tue 29-Jan-13 22:03:33

Yes I agree the groupies are a good contrast. Irritating and makes you glad when they go.

John Travolta!!! Please if there is a God noooooooooo.

Although Gerard Butler would be nice slotted in there somewhere wink

Janimoso Tue 29-Jan-13 22:05:02

Ps my husband is reading it now, and we almost never usually read the same books!!!

Got to quickly add: could have asked me to name 500 actors who might play Harold, and John Travolta would quite certainly not have been there.

The image of Travolta trudging through Somerset in boating shoes is going to keep me laughing inside all night.

CuriousMama Tue 29-Jan-13 22:11:30

Same here TBC grin

FairyArmadillo Tue 29-Jan-13 22:13:10

I know I missed this. Ironically, I missed it because I couldn't put the book down and have just finished it, weeping. Rachel, if you're still around- your book was beautiful. Off to read the thread now.

Belo Tue 29-Jan-13 22:15:30

Drat. Missed all of the live chat. Stuck on a work problem sad

And just to remind everyone that February's Book of the Month thread (where we'll be discussing Gillian Flynn's GONE GIRL) is live and ready for you... and you can chat to Gillian on Tue 26 February.

See you there.

CuriousMama Tue 29-Jan-13 22:37:09

I've ordered the February book from the library so will try to join in.

gazzalw Wed 30-Jan-13 06:29:18

What a fabulous 'chat' - and I've never seen anyone get through the comments/questions at such a speed....

It will make a fabulous film methinks (let's hope so) and looking forward to the publication of Rachel's next novel.

I definitely can see Billy Nighy in the film but I would probably have him as the actor or the man having the relationship with the young man (whom Harold meets in the cafe...)

DuchessofMalfi Wed 30-Jan-13 08:18:38

Good choice gazzalw grin

I missed the chat too - was poorly all day yesterday and went to bed early. Will catch up with reading the thread this morning.

Eirwen Wed 30-Jan-13 08:53:06

I just caught the tail end of the web chat last night and have just read through the whole thread again - it was fantastic. I feel doubly blessed - first I received a lovely free book which I very very much enjoyed. Second was this marvellous, interesting, thought provoking webchat. I think this is the best chat there has ever been on the MN Bookclub. Thank you so much to Rachel Joyce, to Mumsnet and to Transworld Books. I'm just off to finish our VAT returns and ponder some more over Harold and Maureen !!!

HanneHolm Sun 10-Feb-13 16:57:49

i hvae loved not only this book but the chat too - funny honest and interesting.

thanks so much and so sorry about your Dad

Pinkbatrobi Wed 20-Feb-13 02:22:28

I'm arriving unbelievably late (because I only managed to get my hands on the book 3 days ago) but once i started it I found it impossible to put it down... Absolutely loved it. Now the chat is over I am left with MY question: what was it that Harold told Maureen at the ball that was so ordinary that it made them laugh and laugh? Rachel says she knows what it is but didn't tell US!!!

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