The new Indie Hardcover Fiction Best Seller list confirms the growing word of mouth for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by British author Rachel Joyce, which arrives at #7. It seems to be doing better with indies than with other sellers; it debuts in lower spot, at #107, on USA Today‘s list. Expect it to arrive on the lower rungs of the upcoming NYT main list, or on the Fiction Extended List.
Reviews have been generally stellar, with the marked exception of the NYT‘s Janet Maslin, who couldn’t get into the spirit of it, calling the simple premise — a retired Englishman learns that an old friend is dying and decides to walk 627 miles to see her — “twee.” More typical is Ron Charles in the Washington Post, who counters that the plot summary,
…sounds twee, but it’s surprisingly steely, even inspiring, the kind of quirky book you want to shepherd into just the right hands. If your friends don’t like it, you may have to stop returning their calls for a little while until you can bring yourself to forgive them.”
You might suspect that Charles wrote that as a direct rebuttal, but his review came out several days before hers.
People magazine gave it four stars last week and named it a People Pick, comparing it to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time; “Joyces’ beguiling debut is another modest seeming story of ‘ordinary’ English lives that enthralls and moves you as it unfolds.”
Librarians on this week’s GalleyChat said that they enjoy recommending it; “Everyone I give Harold to falls in love with him.” One librarian plans to use it with her book club, pairing it with a nonfiction title about a journey of self-discovery, Wild by Cheryl Strayed.
Harold Fry is on the UK’s Man Book prize longlist and currently shows odds of 6:1 at William Hill bookmakers, putting it just behind books by two already established authors, Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies and Will Self’s Umbrella.
||Random House – (2012-07-24)
|ISBN / EAN:
||0812993292 / 9780812993295