I listened to this one as an audiobook, narrated by Jim Broadbent. I highly recommend the audio version — besides the fact that it’s so easy to picture Harold as Jim Broadbent in the Bridget Jones movies (seriously!), it’s also a great book to let slowly unfold while doing a bit of walking yourself.
“If I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, it stands to reason that I’m going to get there. I’ve begun to think we sit far more than we’re supposed to.” He smiled. “Why else would we have feet?”
Harold Fry, recently retired after decades working for a brewery, receives a letter one day from an old-worker named Queenie. He hasn’t seen Queenie in 20 years, since an incident that eventually gets revealed to the reader. Queenie’s in hospice some 500 miles from Harold, dying of cancer. Harold goes to post a letter in response to hers, and somehow…just keeps walking. After a conversation with a young woman in a shop, he becomes convinced that as long as he keeps walking, Queenie will keep living. And so he pledges to walk to her.
Harold’s basically having a mental breakdown here, but as we walk along with him, more and more gets revealed about his young life, his marriage, his son, and his time with Queenie and we learn why he is the way he is. It’s a slow, quiet book and I enjoyed it immensely. I’m recovering from a back injury, and I’ve been doing a lot of walking lately. Harold made for a perfect companion during this time, and I’ve already downloaded the sequel to see what happens next.