The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST
 
“[Rachel] Joyce’s beguiling debut is [a] modest-seeming story of ‘ordinary’ English lives that enthralls and moves you as it unfolds.”—People (four stars)
 
Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning a letter arrives, addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl, from a woman he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. But before Harold mails off a quick reply, a chance encounter convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. In his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold Fry embarks on an urgent quest. Determined to walk six hundred miles to the hospice, Harold believes that as long as he walks, Queenie will live. A novel of charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry introduces Rachel Joyce as a wise—and utterly irresistible—storyteller.
 
Praise for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

“[A] gorgeously poignant novel of hope and transformation.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“A cause for celebration . . . [Joyce] has a lovely sense of the possibilities of redemption. In this bravely unpretentious and unsentimental take, she’s cleared space where miracles are still possible.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
 
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is not just a book about lost love. It is about all the wonderful everyday things Harold discovers through the mere process of putting one foot in front of the other.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

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“An unforgettable story of music, loss and hope. Fans of High Fidelity, meet your next quirky love story.”—People

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE TIMES (UK) AND THE WASHINGTON POST

It is 1988. On a dead-end street in a run-down suburb there is a music shop that stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. Like a beacon, the shop attracts the lonely, the sleepless, and the adrift; Frank, the shop’s owner, has a way of connecting his customers with just the piece of music they need. Then, one day, into his shop comes a beautiful young woman, Ilse Brauchmann, who asks Frank to teach her about music. Terrified of real closeness, Frank feels compelled to turn and run, yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems, and Frank has old wounds that threaten to reopen, as well as a past it seems he will never leave behind. Can a man who is so in tune with other people’s needs be so incapable of connecting with the one person who might save him? The journey that these two quirky, wonderful characters make in order to overcome their emotional baggage speaks to the healing power of music—and love—in this poignant, ultimately joyful work of fiction.

Praise for The Music Shop
 
“Captures the sheer, transformative joy of romance.”—The Washington Post
 
“Love, friendship, and especially the healing powers of music all rise together into a triumphant crescendo. . . . This lovely novel is as satisfying and enlightening as the music that suffuses its every page.”—The Boston Globe
 
“Magnificent . . . If you love words, if you love music, if you love love, this [novel] will be without question one of the year’s best.”—BookPage (Top Pick in Fiction)
 
“Joyce has a knack for quickly sketching characters in a way that makes them stick. [The Music Shop] will surprise you.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Rachel Joyce has established a reputation for novels that celebrate the dignity and courage of ordinary people and the resilience of the human spirit. . . . But what really elevates The Music Shop is Joyce’s detailed knowledge of—and passion for—music.”—The Guardian
Rachel Joyce, internationally bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Perfect, delivers an unforgettable Christmas story of moving on from lost love, now available exclusively as an e-short.
 
It’s Christmas Eve, and Binny has only five hours to decorate her house and fix a proper dinner. Dropping her children off at school, she runs into town to do some last-minute shopping, yet her mind and heart are wholly elsewhere. Fighting off the sting of recent heartbreak, Binny stumbles into a small store, and in striking up conversation with the saleswoman she is suddenly overcome with memories of old friends, family, loves that have come and gone. And in this tiny shop, in the unlikely company of a complete stranger, Binny discovers a surprising sense of peace.
 
Includes an enthralling preview of Rachel Joyce’s forthcoming novel Perfect.
 
Praise for Rachel Joyce
 
“Perfect is a poignant and powerful book, rich with empathy and charged with beautiful, atmospheric writing.”—Tana French, author of In the Woods, on Perfect
 
“[Perfect’s] unputdownable factor . . . lies in its exploration of so many multilayered emotions. There is the unbreakable bond between mother and son, the fear of not belonging . . . and how love can offer redemption.”—London Evening Standard, on Perfect
 
“Beguiling . . . enthralls and moves you as it unfolds.”—People (four stars), on The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
 
“[A] gorgeously poignant novel of hope and transformation.”—O: The Oprah Magazine, on The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
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Publisher
Random House
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Published on
Jul 24, 2012
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9780679645115
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Family Life / General
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This “poetic, poignant” (US Weekly) debut features last great adventures, unlikely heroes, and a “sweet, disarming story of lasting love” (The New York Times Book Review).

Eighty-three-year-old Etta has never seen the ocean. So early one morning she takes a rifle, some chocolate, and her best boots and begins walking the 3,232 kilometers from rural Saskatchewan, Canada eastward to the sea. As Etta walks further toward the crashing waves, the lines among memory, illusion, and reality blur.

Otto wakes to a note left on the kitchen table. “I will try to remember to come back,” Etta writes to her husband. Otto has seen the ocean, having crossed the Atlantic years ago to fight in a far-away war. He understands. But with Etta gone, the memories come crowding in and Otto struggles to keep them at bay. Meanwhile, their neighbor Russell has spent his whole life trying to keep up with Otto and loving Etta from afar. Russell insists on finding Etta, wherever she’s gone. Leaving his own farm will be the first act of defiance in his life.

Moving from the hot and dry present of a quiet Canadian farm to a dusty, burnt past of hunger, war, and passion, from trying to remember to trying to forget, Etta and Otto and Russell and James is an astounding literary debut “of deep longing, for reinvention and self-discovery, as well as for the past and for love and for the boundless unknown” (San Francisco Chronicle). “In this haunting debut, set in a starkly beautiful landscape, Hooper delineates the stories of Etta and the men she loved (Otto and Russell) as they intertwine through youth and wartime and into old age. It’s a lovely book you’ll want to linger over” (People).
Part voyeur, part dreamer, Nina Shepard, a Manhattan dog walker, has been around the block, so to speak, a few times and yearns to find that something -- or someone -- she can be passionate about. She may not have a boyfriend or a real purpose in life, but she does have a job that offers her one great opportunity: the keys to her clients' apartments. And with these keys, Nina has the freedom to cross several foyers -- and a moral boundary -- and gain access to their lives...where she just might find the things that are missing in her own.
Enter Daniel, a man she thinks she knows from snooping far past his doorway when she comes to pick up Sid, his Weimaraner. Except for owning a designer dog (rather than a stray from the pound), he seems perfect in every way. Now if only she could meet him.
For anyone else that might seem simple, but for Nina life is complicated. Claire, her best friend, is an actress who loses every audition due to nervous sweats. Bono, a sullen and sarcastic eight-year-old, is neglected by his U2 groupie mom, one of Nina's clients. Mrs. Chandler, her eccentric neighbor, would rather discuss Barry Bonds than why the IRS is hounding her. And Isaiah, Nina's ex-con dog-walking colleague, champions the rights of pit bulls. And, of course, there are the dogs themselves: Wallis and Edward, the spoiled dachsunds; Che, the stone-deaf beagle; Safire, the bulldog who stares at walls; and Nina's own beloved mutt Sam.
But it is Daniel who holds the key to Nina's heart. One moonlit night on a pier overlooking the Hudson River they are pulled into the treacherous waters of love. What she doesn't know is that Daniel is an imposter, pretending to be what he is not. And by the time she learns who he really is, after mishaps and mistaken identities, deception and lost dogs, it's too late. She's fallen for someone she never would have expected.
The Dog Walker is the hilarious and heartwarming story about one woman's quest for fulfillment. It is about city life -- any city, all cities -- and the struggle to make real connections. It is about allowing oneself to love fully while being fully oneself. And finally, it is about life itself: unpredictable, joyful, and not to be missed.
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • Colum McCann’s beloved novel inspired by Philippe Petit’s daring high-wire stunt, which is also depicted in the film The Walk starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt

In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in bestselling novelist Colum McCann’s stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.

Let the Great World Spin is the critically acclaimed author’s most ambitious novel yet: a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s.

Corrigan, a radical young Irish monk, struggles with his own demons as he lives among the prostitutes in the middle of the burning Bronx. A group of mothers gather in a Park Avenue apartment to mourn their sons who died in Vietnam, only to discover just how much divides them even in grief. A young artist finds herself at the scene of a hit-and-run that sends her own life careening sideways. Tillie, a thirty-eight-year-old grandmother, turns tricks alongside her teenage daughter, determined not only to take care of her family but to prove her own worth. Elegantly weaving together these and other seemingly disparate lives, McCann’s powerful allegory comes alive in the unforgettable voices of the city’s people, unexpectedly drawn together by hope, beauty, and the “artistic crime of the century.”

A sweeping and radical social novel, Let the Great World Spin captures the spirit of America in a time of transition, extraordinary promise, and, in hindsight, heartbreaking innocence. Hailed as a “fiercely original talent” (San Francisco Chronicle), award-winning novelist McCann has delivered a triumphantly American masterpiece that awakens in us a sense of what the novel can achieve, confront, and even heal.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Colum McCann’s TransAtlantic.

“This is a gorgeous book, multilayered and deeply felt, and it’s a damned lot of fun to read, too. Leave it to an Irishman to write one of the greatest-ever novels about New York. There’s so much passion and humor and pure lifeforce on every page of Let the Great World Spin that you’ll find yourself giddy, dizzy, overwhelmed.”—Dave Eggers

“Stunning . . . [an] elegiac glimpse of hope . . . It’s a novel rooted firmly in time and place. It vividly captures New York at its worst and best. But it transcends all that. In the end, it’s a novel about families—the ones we’re born into and the ones we make for ourselves.”—USA Today
Winner of the McKitterick First Novel Award. Shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. “One of the most remarkable books ever written on the subject of Wales” – Jan Morris on Lloyd Jones' extraordinary debut novel, Mr Vogel. Acclaimed novelist Iain Sinclair, meanwhile, has described it as “the tour-guide Wales has been waiting for.” One of the most original and engaging novels to appear from – and about – Wales in recent years, Mr Vogel is all the more remarkable for the author’s own amazing story. Following a bout of alcoholism which nearly killed him, Lloyd decided to recuperate by walking around Wales. It was this epic walk which inspired Lloyd to write Mr Vogel, “an astonishing mixture of fantasy, philosophy and travel” (Jan Morris). The novel begins with the discovery, in the attic of a second-hand bookshop, of an account of a lame man’s mysterious quest – the so-called ‘Vogel Papers’; the account tells of an unnamed colonial outpost, a land which resembles Wales but which is somehow skewed. Our guide, a Welshman, becomes obsessed with the Vogel Papers: his investigations take him across three continents and around his homeland – from Anglesey to Pembrokeshire, from Bangor to the Black Mountains – in search of a strange man known only as Mr Vogel. Accompanied by his reprobate friends Paddy and Waldo, as well as a motley crowd of academics, osteopaths and famous writers (not to mention a piglet and a couple of teddybears), our narrator gradually nears the end of his search. Only then does it become clear that the real Mr Vogel was never very far away after all. Mr Vogel is a story of one man’s dream of freedom, love and friendship. Compelling and warm-hearted, it is at once a novel, an anthology and a memoir; above all it is a reflection on the importance of hope and a celebration of Wales’ culture, landscape and people. In the words of Iain Sinclair, “Stop what you’re doing and listen to this mongrel monologue!”
“An unforgettable story of music, loss and hope. Fans of High Fidelity, meet your next quirky love story.”—People

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE TIMES (UK) AND THE WASHINGTON POST

It is 1988. On a dead-end street in a run-down suburb there is a music shop that stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. Like a beacon, the shop attracts the lonely, the sleepless, and the adrift; Frank, the shop’s owner, has a way of connecting his customers with just the piece of music they need. Then, one day, into his shop comes a beautiful young woman, Ilse Brauchmann, who asks Frank to teach her about music. Terrified of real closeness, Frank feels compelled to turn and run, yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems, and Frank has old wounds that threaten to reopen, as well as a past it seems he will never leave behind. Can a man who is so in tune with other people’s needs be so incapable of connecting with the one person who might save him? The journey that these two quirky, wonderful characters make in order to overcome their emotional baggage speaks to the healing power of music—and love—in this poignant, ultimately joyful work of fiction.

Praise for The Music Shop
 
“Captures the sheer, transformative joy of romance.”—The Washington Post
 
“Love, friendship, and especially the healing powers of music all rise together into a triumphant crescendo. . . . This lovely novel is as satisfying and enlightening as the music that suffuses its every page.”—The Boston Globe
 
“Magnificent . . . If you love words, if you love music, if you love love, this [novel] will be without question one of the year’s best.”—BookPage (Top Pick in Fiction)
 
“Joyce has a knack for quickly sketching characters in a way that makes them stick. [The Music Shop] will surprise you.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Rachel Joyce has established a reputation for novels that celebrate the dignity and courage of ordinary people and the resilience of the human spirit. . . . But what really elevates The Music Shop is Joyce’s detailed knowledge of—and passion for—music.”—The Guardian
"Tender, insightful, and surprising… [Arthur Pepper] will instantly capture the hearts of readers who loved Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop, and Antoine Laurain’s The Red Notebook." — Library Journal, starred reviewDon’t miss this curiously charming debut! In this hauntingly beautiful story of love, loneliness and self-discovery, an endearing widower embarks on a life-changing adventure.Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met—a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a joyous celebration of life’s infinite possibilities.More Praise:"Phaedra Patrick understands the soul. Eccentric, charming, and wise…The Curious Charms is not just for those who are mourning over love or the past. This book will illuminate your heart." — Nina George, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop

Look for Phaedra Patrick’s latest perfectly charming read, Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone, out now!
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).
Rachel Joyce, internationally bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Perfect, delivers an unforgettable Christmas story of moving on from lost love, now available exclusively as an e-short.
 
It’s Christmas Eve, and Binny has only five hours to decorate her house and fix a proper dinner. Dropping her children off at school, she runs into town to do some last-minute shopping, yet her mind and heart are wholly elsewhere. Fighting off the sting of recent heartbreak, Binny stumbles into a small store, and in striking up conversation with the saleswoman she is suddenly overcome with memories of old friends, family, loves that have come and gone. And in this tiny shop, in the unlikely company of a complete stranger, Binny discovers a surprising sense of peace.
 
Includes an enthralling preview of Rachel Joyce’s forthcoming novel Perfect.
 
Praise for Rachel Joyce
 
“Perfect is a poignant and powerful book, rich with empathy and charged with beautiful, atmospheric writing.”—Tana French, author of In the Woods, on Perfect
 
“[Perfect’s] unputdownable factor . . . lies in its exploration of so many multilayered emotions. There is the unbreakable bond between mother and son, the fear of not belonging . . . and how love can offer redemption.”—London Evening Standard, on Perfect
 
“Beguiling . . . enthralls and moves you as it unfolds.”—People (four stars), on The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
 
“[A] gorgeously poignant novel of hope and transformation.”—O: The Oprah Magazine, on The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
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