Saturday, 21 April 2012

A Charming Story Beautifully Told

With the bad weather this week restricting bike rides and metal detecting I've managed to find time to read two novels. If you're over fifty I think you'll enjoy this one, The Ulikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, very much. It's five stars on Amazon for me.

Although, as the title suggests, the story is an unlikely one, it certainly provided a great deal for this reader to think about. In my late fifties and almost "one foot in the grave" so to speak, I understood exactly how Harold felt as his trip to the postbox morphed into a trek from one end of England to the other. Spurred on by a girl in a garage who talks about an aunt's miraculous recovery from cancer, Harold decides to walk to Berwick Upon Tweed to save an old work colleague who has written to him from her hospice bed.

Rachel Joyce tells Harold's story masterfully; she leaves us guessing at the events in Harold's life that have led to his sterile marriage and the miserable existence that lead him to start his epic journey and she reveals the answers only late on in the book. He meets interesting men and women along the way and is eventually joined on his pilgrimage by a motley crew of characters but ultimately the story is about Harold and about love, death, mortality and marriage.

It may not appeal to those who want something edgy but if you like a "nice" read you will love this. I found myself laughing out loud once or twice but also ended several chapters wiping tears from my eyes as it touched several very raw nerves.

I think it will appeal more to readers over fifty than to the young who still have most of their lives ahead of them.