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Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
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Cry, the Beloved Country (1948)

by Alan Paton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 476 mentions

English (151)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (153)
Showing 1-5 of 151 (next | show all)
This is an excellent book. ( )
  doryfish | Mar 6, 2019 |
Published 1948; set in South Africa 1946

Zulu parson Stephen Kumalo travels to Johannesburg from his home village in response to a letter about his much younger sister Gertrude who has fallen into an immoral life. He finds her and her child, and the pregnant girlfriend of his son, and returns home with all except Gertrude who runs away again. He also finds his son Absalom in jail for the murder of a white man, an activist for equality among the “Europeans’ and the “natives”. His son is eventually hung for that crime, although he shot out of surprise and fear and did not mean to kill.

The father of the murdered man lives near Kumalo’s village and they meet. The young son of Arthur, the murdered man, appears in the village on horseback, eager to learn Zulu and makes acquaintance with Kumalo. After reporting to his grandfather that there is no milk in the village and children are dying, carts of milk appear each day; an agricultural specialist is brought in to teach the farmers, a dam is planned, and so on. Rather romanticized in that regard, I think.

Graceful, understate language with the rhythm of Africa. No quotation marks. ( )
  ParadisePorch | Oct 12, 2018 |
The story is compelling once the reader gets into it, and the writing is beautiful, as always. It's an important story, I feel -- one people living in developed countries need to hear. Choices can be agonizing in less developed parts of the world, and people tend to judge others with no knowledge of what they deal with.

Here, the son of a parson in a small rural village goes to a big city, as does the parson's sister and a few other relatives. Life is hard in the village but loving. In the city lives the son of a wealthy white man who is doing everything he can to help the workers who aren't being paid enough to live on and to help people in other ways. His wife and children live there with him. The parson's son hangs out with cousins in the city, the father of one being an unscrupulous uncle and brother to the parson.

Three boys, including the sons of the parson and uncle, get in heavy trouble, as does the parson's sister. Corruption rules in the city where they have gone to find their fortune and jobs. The uncle does well for himself, at the expense of others. This is the story of how things can go terribly wrong in an instant, for anyone, not just these people.

It's the story of family and parental love and deep friendship. It's the story of a caring, loving people who have nothing and yet still give to others. It's too bad more of us today in America and healthy nations don't have the basic love and decency of these tribal peoples. ( )
  Rascalstar | Jul 13, 2018 |
Review: Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton. 06/09/2018

If you like classic this is a great one. The plot and characterization are very powerful. The characters are well developed, neither all good nor all bad and they all have their own voice that gets the readers attention. The novel is about many things, forgiveness and improvement and the tragedy of death and the miracle of new life. The story was inspiring especially because Alan Paton wrote wonderfully expressing different personalities, different experiences, and different points of view.

The story was written with depth and great understanding set in South Africa in the 1940’s, a place of great natural beauty which was badly treated by man. It tells a story of Stephen Kumalo, a black minister who lives in the deep countryside away from racial injustice but close to a small village. The story starts with Stephen Kumalo traveling to the City of Johannesburg to find his sister and his son, who had vanished into the great city like many others who went looking for a better life. Kumalo finds them but his son is in prison for killing a white man and his sister a prostitute, unmarried with a small child who is unsupervised most of the time.

The story is written in a beautiful poetic prose of a black man’s country under white man’s law. The novel had a sad and tragic ending showing love and hope and courage and endurance. ( )
  Juan-banjo | Jun 19, 2018 |
A beautiful novel. It tugs at the heart as the characters face the cultural dilemma of justice in South Africa immediately preceding the onset of the apartheid era. Alan Paton provides a tension of grief and hope that speaks into real life and gives readers a story that will not be easily forgotten. ( )
  sethcburgess | May 17, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 151 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alan Patonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Aasen, FinnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Callan, EdwardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gannett, LewisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hillelson, JohnPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leonardo, ToddCover photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Majorick, B.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moppès, Denise VanTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scibner, Charles, Jr.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Mary AnnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Moppès, DeniseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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People/Characters
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Aubrey & Marigold Burns of Fairfax, California
To
my wife
and to my friend of many years
JAN HENDRIK HOFMEYR
First words
It is true that there is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills.
Quotations
It is not permissible to add to one’s possessions if these things can only be done at the cost of other men. Such development has only one true name, and that is exploitation.
Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.
Cry for the broken tribe, for the law and the custom that is gone. Aye, and cry aloud for the man who is dead, for the woman and children bereaved. Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end.
All roads lead to Johannesburg.
When people go to Johannesburg, they do not come back.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743262174, Paperback)

Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much."

The most famous and important novel in South Africa's history, and an immediate worldwide bestseller when it was published in 1948, Alan Paton's impassioned novel about a black man's country under white man's law is a work of searing beauty. The eminent literary critic Lewis Gannett wrote, "We have had many novels from statesmen and reformers, almost all bad; many novels from poets, almost all thin. In Alan Paton's Cry, the Beloved Country the statesman, the poet and the novelist meet in a unique harmony."

Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son, Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its lyricism, unforgettable for character and incident, Cry, the Beloved Country is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:54 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo travels to Johannesburg on an errand for a friend and to visit his son, Absalom, only to learn Absalom has been accused of murdering white city engineer and social activist Arthur Jarvis and stands very little chance of receiving mercy.… (more)

» see all 19 descriptions

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