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Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

Cry, the Beloved Country (original 1948; edition 2003)

by Alan Paton (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,200166799 (3.99)508
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.
Title:Cry, the Beloved Country
Authors:Alan Paton (Author)
Info:Scribner (2003), Edition: 1, 320 pages
Collections:SRG Prizes Adult and Teen, Your library

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Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton (1948)


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English (164)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (166)
Showing 1-5 of 164 (next | show all)
David Powlison recommends this book as one that all pastors should read. It began slowly, but picked up the pace and pulled me in as the plot began to develop. Life is messy and demands responses that sometimes test the character and fortitude of a man. Sorrows and affliction abound in the life of the protagonist, a Zulu priest living during the time period that prefigured apartheid South Africa. Native crime and the breakdown of the land and tribal system are a pair of major themes. ( )
  joshcrouse3 | Sep 17, 2021 |
No wonder this is one of Tun Dr Mahathir’s favourite book! It’s written beautifully with much thought and feels into it! So relatable and I can understand the anguish parent’s thoughts.

Here's my full review:
http://www.sholee.net/2019/10/mpov-cry-beloved-country.html ( )
  Sholee | Sep 9, 2021 |
For a book that was written over 60 years ago, it is remarkable how much its speaks to the soul of South Africa. The broken lives of both black and white people and how the only redemption is through forgiveness, and working together.

It is a simple story of an old pastor who travels from rural Kwazulu-Natal, to find his son. The place he comes from is impoverished and broken, the land is abused by primitive farming and agriculture and families are broken. It is a land of old men and children because the young leave to work in the cities, serving the industry of white men.

Kumalo ultimately arrives too late, because he cannot save his son from the evils of the big city. It is the tragedy of many Africans who leave their homeland never to return, they are swallowed by the city and its ills, the crime, the booze, and the loose living. Those who survive these ills are lost in a struggle for power or in politics, and stray one way or another. In either way there is no return.

Alan Paton speaks with compassion about the problems of South Africa and points to a solution, that is valid even now. Love the land, work for the land. The idea of redemption is strongly linked in the story with the Christian faith, but it also had a strong element of respecting the wisdom of the land, and believing in the kindness and humanity of other. The human story remains as poignant and fresh today as if Alan Paton has just written it. No wonder that this book is one of the greatest pieces of African writing.

It contains very pointed insight. I was struck especially by the depiction of the traditional African chief. Paton describes through his protagonist, how the white man broke down the traditional tribe, and knocked the chiefs down, then restored them to be rulers over swathes of broken and used up land. It is a sad reality that is perhaps valid all over the world. The puppets are never as good as the real chiefs that would have been born from the wisdom of the land and the people. Excellent book should be read by everyone, especially those connected to Africa and South Africa. ( )
  moukayedr | Sep 5, 2021 |
This is an excellent book. ( )
  doryfish | Aug 20, 2021 |
Set in S Africa apartheid poverty anguish and beauty of human spirit in spite of adversity
  nancynic | Jul 14, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 164 (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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To Aubrey & Marigold Burns of Fairfax, California
my wife
and to my friend of many years
First words
It is true that there is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills.
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.
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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.

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