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The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry
 
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The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry [Format Kindle]

Rachel Joyce
4.3 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (19 commentaires client)

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Extrait

1

Harold and the Letter

The letter that would change everything arrived on a Tuesday. It was an ordinary morning in mid-April that smelled of clean washing and grass cuttings. Harold Fry sat at the breakfast table, freshly shaved, in a clean shirt and tie, with a slice of toast that he wasn’t eating. He gazed beyond the kitchen window at the clipped lawn, which was spiked in the middle by Maureen’s telescopic washing line, and trapped on all three sides by the neighbors’ stockade fencing.

“Harold!” called Maureen above the vacuum cleaner. “Post!”

He thought he might like to go out, but the only thing to do was mow the lawn and he had done that yesterday. The vacuum tumbled into silence, and his wife appeared, looking cross, with a letter. She sat opposite Harold.

Maureen was a slight woman with a cap of silver hair and a brisk walk. When they first met, nothing had pleased him more than to make her laugh. To watch her neat frame collapse into unruly happiness. “It’s for you,” she said. He didn’t know what she meant until she slid an envelope across the table, and stopped it just short of Harold’s elbow. They both looked at the letter as if they had never seen one before. It was pink. “The postmark says Berwick-upon-Tweed.”

He didn’t know anyone in Berwick. He didn’t know many people anywhere. “Maybe it’s a mistake.”

“I think not. They don’t get something like a postmark wrong.” She took toast from the rack. She liked it cold and crisp.

Harold studied the mysterious envelope. Its pink was not the color of the bathroom suite, or the matching towels and fluffed cover for the toilet seat. That was a vivid shade that made Harold feel he shouldn’t be there. But this was delicate. A Turkish Delight pink. His name and address were scribbled in ballpoint, the clumsy letters collapsing into one another as if a child had dashed them off in a hurry: Mr. H. Fry, 13 Fossebridge Road, Kingsbridge, South Hams. He didn’t recognize the handwriting.

“Well?” said Maureen, passing a knife. He held it to the corner of the envelope, and tugged it through the fold. “Careful,” she warned.

He could feel her eyes on him as he eased out the letter, and prodded back his reading glasses. The page was typed, and addressed from a place he didn’t know: St. Bernadine’s Hospice. Dear Harold, This may come to you as some surprise. His eyes ran to the bottom of the page.

“Well?” said Maureen again.

“Good lord. It’s from Queenie Hennessy.”

Maureen speared a nugget of butter with her knife and flattened it the length of her toast. “Queenie who?”

“She worked at the brewery. Years ago. Don’t you remember?”

Maureen shrugged. “I don’t see why I should. I don’t know why I’d remember someone from years ago. Could you pass the jam?”

“She was in finances. She was very good.”

“That’s the marmalade, Harold. Jam is red. If you look at things before you pick them up, you’ll find it helps.”

Harold passed her what she needed and returned to his letter. Beautifully set out, of course; nothing like the muddled writing on the envelope. Then he smiled, remembering this was how it always was with Queenie: everything she did so precise you couldn’t fault it. “She remembers you. She sends her regards.”

Maureen’s mouth pinched into a bead. “A chap on the radio was saying the French want our bread. They can’t get it sliced in France. They come over here and they buy it all up. The chap said there might be a shortage by summer.” She paused. “Harold? Is something the matter?”

He said nothing. He drew up tall with his lips parted, his face bleached. His voice, when at last it came, was small and far away. “It’s—cancer. Queenie is writing to say goodbye.” He fumbled for more words but there weren’t any. Tugging a handkerchief from his trouser pocket, Harold blew his nose. “I um. Gosh.” Tears crammed his eyes.

Moments passed; maybe minutes. Maureen gave a swallow that smacked the silence. “I’m sorry,” she said.

He nodded. He ought to look up, but he couldn’t.

“It’s a nice morning,” she began again. “Why don’t you fetch out the patio chairs?” But he sat, not moving, not speaking, until she lifted the dirty plates. Moments later the vacuum cleaner took up from the hall.



Harold felt winded. If he moved so much as a limb, a muscle, he was afraid it would trigger an abundance of feeling he was doing his best to contain. Why had he let twenty years pass without trying to find Queenie Hennessy? A picture came of the small, dark-haired woman with whom he had worked all that time ago, and it seemed inconceivable that she was—what? Sixty? And dying of cancer in Berwick. Of all the places, he thought; he’d never traveled so far north. He glanced out at the garden and saw a ribbon of plastic caught in the laurel hedging, flapping up and down, but never pulling free. He tucked Queenie’s letter into his pocket, patted it twice for safekeeping, and rose to his feet.

Upstairs Maureen shut the door of David’s room quietly and stood a moment, breathing him in. She pulled open his blue curtains that she closed every night, and checked that there was no dust where the hem of the net drapes met the windowsill. She polished the silver frame of his Cambridge portrait, and the black-and-white baby photograph beside it. She kept the room clean because she was waiting for David to come back, and she never knew when that would be. A part of her was always waiting. Men had no idea what it was like to be a mother. The ache of loving a child, even when he had moved on. She thought of Harold downstairs, with his pink letter, and wished she could talk to their son. Maureen left the room as softly as she had entered it, and went to strip the beds.



Harold Fry took several sheets of Basildon Bond from the sideboard drawer and one of Maureen’s rollerball pens. What did you say to a dying woman with cancer? He wanted her to know how sorry he felt, but it was wrong to put In Sympathy because that was what the cards in the shops said after, as it were, the event; and anyway it sounded formal, as if he didn’t really care. He tried Dear Miss Hennessy, I sincerely hope your condition improves, but when he put down the pen to inspect his message, it seemed both stiff and unlikely. He crumpled the paper into a ball and tried again. He had never been good at expressing himself. What he felt was so big it was difficult to find the words, and even if he could, it was hardly appropriate to write them to someone he had not contacted in twenty years. Had the shoe been on the other foot, Queenie would have known what to do.

“Harold?” Maureen’s voice took him by surprise. He thought she was upstairs, polishing something, or speaking to David. She had her rubber gloves on.

“I’m writing Queenie a note.”

“A note?” She often repeated what he said.

“Yes. Would you like to sign?”

“I think not. It would hardly be appropriate to sign a note to someone I don’t know.”

It was time to stop worrying about expressing anything beautifully. He would simply have to set down the words in his head: Dear Queenie, Thank you for your letter. I am very sorry. Yours Best wishes—Harold (Fry). It was limp, but there it was. Sliding the letter into an envelope, he sealed it quickly, and copied the address of St. Bernadine’s Hospice onto the front. “I’ll nip to the postbox.”

It was past eleven o’clock. He lifted his waterproof jacket from the peg where Maureen liked him to hang it. At the door, the smell of warmth and salt air rushed at his nose, but his wife was at his side before his left foot was over the threshold.

“Will you be long?”

“I’m only going to the end of the road.”

She kept on looking up at him, with her moss-green eyes and her fragile chin, and he wished he knew what to say but he didn’t; at least not in a way that would make any difference. He longed to touch her like in the old days, to lower his head on her shoulder and rest there. “Cheerio, Maureen.” He shut the front door between them, taking care not to let it slam.

Built on a hill above Kingsbridge, the houses of Fossebridge Road enjoyed what estate agents called an elevated position, with far-reaching views over the town and countryside. Their front gardens, however, sloped at a precarious angle toward the pavement below, and plants wrapped themselves round bamboo stakes as if hanging on for dear life. Harold strode down the steep concrete path a little faster than he might have wished and noticed five new dandelions. Maybe this afternoon he would get out the Roundup. It would be something.

Spotting Harold, the next-door neighbor waved and steered his way toward the adjoining fence. Rex was a short man with tidy feet at the bottom, a small head at the top, and a very round body in the middle, causing Harold to fear sometimes that if he fell there would be no stopping him. He would roll down the hill like a barrel. Rex had been widowed six months ago, at about the time of Harold’s retirement. Since Elizabeth’s death, he liked to talk about how hard life was. He liked to talk about it at great length. “The least you can do is listen,” Maureen said, although Harold wasn’t sure if she meant “you” in the general sense or the particular.

“Off for a walk?” said Rex.

Harold attempted a jocular tone that would act, he hoped, as an int...

Revue de presse

"One of the sweetest, most delicately-written stories I've read in a long time. One man's walk along the length of England to save the life of a dying woman. Each chapter describes a different encounter along the way, with a definite nod to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Philosophical, intriguing, and profoundly moving." (Richard Madeley Foyles website)

"Uplifting, funny and delicate" (Jon Stock The Daily Telegraph)

"Wonderful" (Deborah Orr Guardian)

"At times almost unbearably moving." (Sunday Times)

"A brilliant and charming novel: full of comic panache yet acute and poignant." (Spectator)

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I love Harold Fry! 19 décembre 2012
Format:Broché
Harold Fry receives a letter from a long lost friend, Queenie, who is dying in a hospice. Something has taken place in the past between Queenie and Harold and he believes he owes Queenie a debt, so he writes her a letter. On his way to post it, his journey to the nearest letterbox extends to the next, and the one after that, and the one after that. A chance meeting puts the idea into his head that if he walks from his home in Devon to the hospice where Queenie is at the other end of England, she will not die.

Stopping at a phone box to call the wife with whom he shares a bleak and lonely life to let her know what he is doing, off he sets. He is not just ill-equipped for such a journey; he is not equipped at all. His shoes will fall to pieces and his stamina will falter, but Harold will not give up. He must walk all the way to Queenie if she is to survive.

As Harold tramps doggedly on the reader is given a look into his domestic life which is haunted by the son who never comes to visit his parents.

In his unsuitable attire and state of decrepitude, Harold is a laughing stock to many people, but as his journey progresses he begins to attract media attention and becomes a cult figure. An assortment of uninvited misfits and crackpots join him on his pilgrimage.

I loved this book on many levels. Harold himself, gentle, humble, dignified, determined. Having walked a similar distance myself, solo, and been mocked, cared for and joined by an unwelcome follower, I could relate to him there. I shared his loneliness, his hardships, his small triumphs and his joys. His route happened to pass within half a mile of where I once lived, so I felt a connection with Harold there too.

Harold's unlikely pilgrimage is a heart-warming tale of faith, regret and hope, with some laugh-out-loud moments.

One of my favourite reads of 2012.
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3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Dur dur de poser ce livre une fois ouvert 28 août 2013
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
J'ai découvert totalement par hasard ce titre :"L'improbable pélérinage d'Harold Fry" ('The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry" en vo) et je me suis régalée.
C'est une histoire qui fait à la fois sourire, rire, mais sait aussi nous émouvoir. Par analogie, je dirais que ça se passe comme dans un road-movie. Au fur-et-à mesure que le chemin se poursuit, l'auteur nous plonge dans les pensées d'Harold (ce qui peut aussi nous amener à réfléchir au sens que nous donnons à notre propre vie et aux choix qui ont été les nôtres) nous restituant un portrait touchant du personnage mais nous fait aussi participer aux nombreuses rencontres qui jalonnent son parcours.
La version originale est plutôt bien écrite, je ne sais ce qu'il en est de la traduction...
Enfin, pour moi, une belle histoire à découvrir.
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3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Utterly brilliant, an emotional rollercoaster. 25 mai 2013
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I have read some journeys before, but this left me breathless.so utterly believable, ordinary lives, filled with emotional baggage, and a journey of redemption for all.
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Superbe histoire 4 juillet 2013
Par Cupen
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Très bon livre, avec une histoire qui devient de plus en plus poignante au fil des pages. Le personnage de Harold Fry est très attachant. J'ai même failli verser une petite larme à la fin.
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A delightfully different read 23 avril 2013
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This is a beautifully written little adventure about someone who could not be more 'ordinary'. The story is revealed slowly and it is not until the end that the whole story is revealed. It is a story of growth and self-discovery.
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 I wanted to walk with Harold 3 avril 2013
Par JRU
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Harold: A wonderful character. A most hear warming tale about a man, his wife, their wayward son and their regrets. I read it in one sitting.
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A must read! 26 mars 2013
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
One of the most fascinating books I have read for a long time. A wonderful study of human nature. Excellent.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 good source 24 mai 2014
Par aimée m
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
satisfied on all counts - fast early delivery - this book arrived in perfect shape do order from this seller
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Commentaires client les plus récents
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Where is Harold Going ?
Too long, repetitious : Harold is going in circles and we are wondering where the author is going, too...
I followed the critics, but wish I hadn't been misled. Lire la suite
Publié il y a 2 mois par Franciska
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Magnifiquement écrit !
On accompagne Harold Fry dans son cheminement à travers l’Angleterre, comme si l'on marchait avec lui sans qu'il ne nous voie. Lire la suite
Publié il y a 3 mois par books-forever
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A very unexpected story
Beautiful descriptions of the English countryside. A couple trying to blank out the past and a heart-warming end. Lire la suite
Publié il y a 4 mois par C. Beral
4.0 étoiles sur 5 sympa
offert ce livre à une amie pour son anniversaire; c'est un livre qu'elle a fait beaucoup circuler et les lectrices ont suivi avec beaucoup d'intérêt le voyage de... Lire la suite
Publié il y a 6 mois par Brigitte
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A different type of story
I liked this book, which is totally different to any other I have read. It was really interesting and I thought the ending was very good.
Publié il y a 6 mois par Me H. Sylvia
5.0 étoiles sur 5 very moving
Although quite predictable, very well-written. The characters really get to you and you wish them well. A lovely read for all.
Publié il y a 7 mois par Johan Allanic
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Just like the walk you have to stick at it
I picked this up in my local bookshop. About a third of the way through i put it down again. The long walk is very long and you wonder where it is going, even though you know the... Lire la suite
Publié il y a 7 mois par NICHOLAS ORD
4.0 étoiles sur 5 livre qui fait sourire
Un beau voyage à travers l'Angleterre doublé d'un voyage intérieur
un beau retour en arrière sur une vie et l'espoir de faire changer les... Lire la suite
Publié il y a 8 mois par emailme
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Moving
A beautiful, moving story. Very impressive for a first novel, will look forward to more. Harold will be hard to top
Publié il y a 8 mois par Debbie
5.0 étoiles sur 5 simple et touchant
Simple et touchant, le personnage de ce monsieur Harlold Fry prend vie au fur et à mesure d'une suite de rencontres inattendues et enrichissantes. Lire la suite
Publié il y a 8 mois par DIDI
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&quote;
I know how much you miss Elizabeth. I miss her all the time. I know in my head that she has gone, but I still keep looking. The only difference is that I am getting used to the pain. Its like discovering a great hole in the ground. To begin with, you forget its there and you keep falling in. After a while, its still there, but you learn to walk round it. &quote;
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He had learned that it was the smallness of people that filled him with wonder and tenderness, and the loneliness of that too. &quote;
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&quote;
The world was made up of people putting one foot in front of the other; and a life might appear ordinary simply because the person living it had done so for a long time. Harold could no longer pass a stranger without acknowledging the truth that everyone was the same, and also unique; and that this was the dilemma of being human. &quote;
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