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Pilgrims: The extraordinary story of an unlikely friendship

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It was Autumn when Paul McDermott stood on the doorstep of a house that would exert a pull on him years after he closed the door for the final time. He was nervous, and totally unprepared to meet the woman he had agreed to visit. Val lived in this house, in a small military town; she was 74 and had been diagnosed with cancer. Though bewildered and frightened underneath, sh It was Autumn when Paul McDermott stood on the doorstep of a house that would exert a pull on him years after he closed the door for the final time. He was nervous, and totally unprepared to meet the woman he had agreed to visit. Val lived in this house, in a small military town; she was 74 and had been diagnosed with cancer. Though bewildered and frightened underneath, she appeared simply as a small, wrinkled, elderly woman with a mischievous awareness and a penetrating stare. So began Paul's series of regular visits to Val over a number of years. As he sat and listened to her talk in her front lounge, or struggled ineptly with the tasks she set him, Val opened up her world: the secrets and memories and lessons of her life that were soon to be extinguished and perhaps forgotten. Gradually, as she came to terms with her past - and also with her future - she took on an effortless clarity and peace that brought her into a supremely human focus. And, at the same time, Paul's own perceptions were challenged in a way he would never have believed when he first arrived at her door. Somehow they created something profound and very precious between them. Full of a surprising warmth, mixed with courage and humour, this remarkable story is deeply life-affirming, not only for the two central characters on their parallel journey - but also for us all.


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It was Autumn when Paul McDermott stood on the doorstep of a house that would exert a pull on him years after he closed the door for the final time. He was nervous, and totally unprepared to meet the woman he had agreed to visit. Val lived in this house, in a small military town; she was 74 and had been diagnosed with cancer. Though bewildered and frightened underneath, sh It was Autumn when Paul McDermott stood on the doorstep of a house that would exert a pull on him years after he closed the door for the final time. He was nervous, and totally unprepared to meet the woman he had agreed to visit. Val lived in this house, in a small military town; she was 74 and had been diagnosed with cancer. Though bewildered and frightened underneath, she appeared simply as a small, wrinkled, elderly woman with a mischievous awareness and a penetrating stare. So began Paul's series of regular visits to Val over a number of years. As he sat and listened to her talk in her front lounge, or struggled ineptly with the tasks she set him, Val opened up her world: the secrets and memories and lessons of her life that were soon to be extinguished and perhaps forgotten. Gradually, as she came to terms with her past - and also with her future - she took on an effortless clarity and peace that brought her into a supremely human focus. And, at the same time, Paul's own perceptions were challenged in a way he would never have believed when he first arrived at her door. Somehow they created something profound and very precious between them. Full of a surprising warmth, mixed with courage and humour, this remarkable story is deeply life-affirming, not only for the two central characters on their parallel journey - but also for us all.

30 review for Pilgrims: The extraordinary story of an unlikely friendship

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Just read Tuesday's with Morrie if you haven't yet. Just read Tuesday's with Morrie if you haven't yet.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Swanepoel

    This is a sweet story and easy to read despite the difficult subject.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mary Karpel-Jergic

  5. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Rounding

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hassan

  7. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Currey

  8. 4 out of 5

    EllenTheobald

  9. 4 out of 5

    M

  10. 5 out of 5

    Caitriona O'Sullivan

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jun

  12. 4 out of 5

    Meg

  13. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Rieck

  14. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  15. 4 out of 5

    Polly

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brigitte

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carol

  18. 5 out of 5

    Wayne

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stefano

  20. 5 out of 5

    Geoff

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kay

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carla

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Kantcheva

  24. 4 out of 5

    Judy Walraven

  25. 5 out of 5

    Megan De León

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brooke Rohweder

  27. 5 out of 5

    D

  28. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tania

  30. 5 out of 5

    Diane Murphy

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