Sunday, April 20, 2014

The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Thankfully I have finished the book and have some content for my post. Not that I did not have anything to write about . There were too many balls in the air and juggling them was getting a bit tough. I had so many thoughts to pen down but then laziness and lack of clarity held me back. 

Anyways now with the book review I intend to get my momentum  back. 

The book as the title suggests is about the journey of Harold . The synopsis states' When Harold Fry leaves home one morning to post a letter, with his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea rage he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone . All he knows is he must keep walking . To save someone else's life '. 

In a nutshell it was just the kind of book I love. Of surmounting all odds and achieving.  It is the tale of the journey of an old man who has not got much to show as remarkable. It is the tale of the journey of someone who has never evoked any confidence from anyone else either. This would be his only chance to attain something . 

As he walks he gathers discouragement and doubt . But as the miles keep piling behind him, it changed to attention and even a fan following as one walks. The flashes of Harold 'a life are projected in a very interesting way. They do not have anything ground breaking but they are the stuff ordinary lives are made up of. The characters of Harold 's wife Maureen , his neighbour Rex , his don David are very well inter twined. We also catch glimpses of the personality of Queenie- the collegue Harold sets out to meet. Once he starts gathering interest is the point in the book where I started loosing interest . I wish the author had contained the characters. It could have continued in its non descript pace. Many a times less means more and the writer should have remembered that. 

The other thing that slightly annoyed me was the reference to walking as 'putting one  step in front of the other' It sounded nice once, maybe twice but after the third time seemed repetitive and unimaginative. 

The book is not remarkable but the idea is. It is not an amazing work but worth a read. The climax is very poignant. It is worth a read for sure if you happen to bump into it, but would not ask you to go searching for it :). 

As usual some quotable quotes :-

It's the job that's never started that tales longest to finish .

It surprised Harold how fast and angry cars seemed when you are not in one .

Life was very different when you walked through it.

'You'd think walking should be the simplest thing.' she said at last. 'Just a question of putting one foot in front of the other. But it never ceases to amaze me how difficult the things that are supposed to be instinctive really are. ' She wet her lower lip with her tongue waiting for more words. 'Eating.' she said at last. 'That's another one. Some people have real difficulties with that. Talking too. Even loving. They can all be difficult. She watched her garden, not Harold. 'Sleeping', he said. 

He understood that in walking to atone for the mistakes he had made, it was also his journey to accept the strangeness of others. As a passer-by, he was in a place where everything not only the land was open. People would feel free to talk, and he was free to listen. 

In walking, he unleashes the past that he had spent twenty years seeking to avoid, and now it chattered and played through his head with a wild energy that was its own. he no longer saw distance in terms of miles. He measured it with his remembering.

He fell silent, and so did Martina. He felt safe with what he had confided. It had been the same with Queenie. You could say things in the car and know she had tucked them somewhere safe among her thoughts, and that she would not judge him for them, or hold it against him in years to come. he supposed that was what friendship was, and regretted all the years he had spent without it.

Beginnings could happen more than once, or in different ways. You could think you were starting something afresh, when actually what you were doing was carrying on as before. He had faced his shortcomings and overcome them, and so the real business of walking was happening only now.

He had been alone for so long he found it tiring to be constantly in the company of others. Their questions and their enthusiasm both moved and slowed him.

If we cant be open, Maureen thought, if we cant accept what we dont know, there really is no hope.

1 comment:

Soma Pradhan said...

My office has blocked all blogspot pages :(. Unfortunately I get less time for blogging .. Too many posts onyour blog to catchup !!