To read or not to read...

This is a debut novel that was longlisted for the 2012 Manbooker prize. Taking its epigraph from Paul Bunyan's  Pilgrims Progress, this is regarded as a modern reworking of this classic novel. The parallels are unmistakable, with certain sites, events, and characters corresponding at times one-for-one with Christian’s journey to the Celestial City. 

 Read the opening paragraphs of this novel, and you decide whether to read or not to read....the rest of the book!

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 three sides by the neighbours 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 to 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 had first met, nothing had pleased him more than to make her laugh. To watch her neat frame collapse into unruly happiness. "Its for you," she said. He didn't know what she meant until she slid the 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. 
Harlod studied the mysterious envelope. Its pink was not the colour 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, KNightsbridge, South Hams. He didn't recognise 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. 

 To keep reading this book, request a copy from the Library.