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Ah But Your Land Is Beautiful
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Ah But Your Land Is Beautiful

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  290 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Ah, But Your Land is Beautiful is set in the 1950s, the time of the Passive Resistance campaign, the Sophiatown removals, the emergence of the South African Liberal Party and the early stages of the Nationalist government in power. Revolving around the everyday experiences of a group of men and women whose lives reflect the human costs of maintaining a racially divided soc ...more
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Published August 1st 2002 by Vintage (first published 1981)
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Africa
202nd out of 1,022 books — 960 voters
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117th out of 384 books — 192 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 562)
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Cindy
Sep 06, 2007 Cindy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: fiction, 20th-century
A brilliant book by the writer of 'Cry, the Beloved Country.' This one is told from varying viewpoints, sometimes as letters, sometimes as conversation, sometimes as newspaper reports, and from all sorts of narrator. There's the "Proud Christian Woman" who writes nasty letters to anyone she disapproves of. There's the Afrikaner civil servant who stick to the party line as long as possible. There's the Indian family whose daughter is making a stand against discrimination which will certainly end ...more
Fergie
Alan Paton (as Ursula Hegi is in the present day) was a master of historical fiction. He wrote with a depth and honest truth that is worthy of our attention. With the same adept skills he used in his other novels, Paton teaches us about his South Africa...beautiful and flawed, real and intriguing. With a forthrightness to be admired, the courage in which he educates us through the words and actions of his characters is both appealing and compelling.
Paton reminds us that human nature, at its co
...more
Maria
It took me a really long time to finish this book. Parts of it were dry like a history book, and lacking the background that a history book would provide. So there were some pages I read without understanding a thing.

Then why did I bother finishing it? Well, I actually learned a lot about apartheid and South Africa. I read "Cry, the Beloved Country" in high school, so either I've forgotten what I learned then or 20 years of life experience have changed how I interpret what I learned. In any case
...more
Albert
The cost of oppression, the tyranny of the mighty few, and the war cries of the oppressed majority: These are things that try our souls, and each of these shines true in this book. Even though it speaks of a time that has passed, even if the nation that survived those tumultuous times moves forwards towards the future, this book contains the stories and agonies of human lives, and that agony, that torment, those tortures ring true today.

The novel may 'bounce around' with a (in this reviewer's i
...more
Abrya
This novel was a very Well written novel. Each person was bought to life and vividly described. Although there where many characters presented which made the novel hard to keep up with, I enjoyed reading it. There was a tone about the book that kept me reading and enjoying every bit of it. It really inspires the reader to go for What he/ she believes like he did in the novel. You can't win I'd you don't fight seems to be the overall message that Alan Paying tried to convey.
Aimee Faour
Didn't finish it! Boring!
Sean de la Rosa
Paton's gracing words and style fill the pages of this book. It is a good reminder of how South Africa was in the 1950's. Maybe that is also its biggest criticism: it felt more like a history book than a work of fiction. There were a couple of intimate chapters where the problems of the characters take on real meaning and importance for the reader - Paton should have focused on this much more I think.
Tfischbach
A really good book.... I feel like I understand the issue of apartheid in south africa much better, but its hard to say i really enjoyed it because of the terrible things that happen... certainly not a light read, but i feel like a better person for having read it.
Derek Baldwin
Ironically titled after the tourist's eternal saying when confronted with a country that's rotten to the core, but scenic. Not fantastically well written in some ways, but I'd rate it highly purely out of admiration for Alan Paton.
Maryn
really, really good. so good. and terrifying, in terms of repressive regimes and the ways they develop rhetoric. and racial righteousness. for anyone interested in apartheid, south africa, or disciplinary regimes.
Kimberly
I'm disappointed to see that not too many people have read Alan Paton, because I have enjoyed now this book and "Cry the Beloved Country," and both give such insight into South Africa, its people, and race relations.
Bonnie
Feb 21, 2009 Bonnie marked it as will-finish-some-day
I think I liked this book more for its name. I did like it but must finish if only because I owed the library my first born child over how late this book was by the time I returned it and NEVER finished reading it. Ugh!
Fred Daly
Disappointing, though interesting. It's set in the 1950s, in the early days of apartheid, and I think it is useful for its documentation of the effects of the new policies. But it's far more earnest than good.
Lyn
Fascinating. Before I read this really had no idea about South Africa, but this is a very detailed, yet also very readable and entertaining story. Compelling and thought provoking.
Tracy
Was a good book, but way to many characters to try to follow. Also hard to follow all the geographical info as I do not know a lot about South Africa.
Renae
This is a powerful book about the beginning/emerging of apartheid in South Africa. It takes various viewpoints of people on both sides of the issue. Read it
lola Franco
i did not love this as much as cry the beloved country -- but still a worthwhile read.
Kim
Historical....1950s South Africa....Politics of racial separation, from many points of view.
Mariana
Alas, all oppression is evil and hurts both the oppressed and the oppressor.
David Smith
Best starter book for trying to understand why things are as they are.
Helen
Jan 14, 2012 Helen rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
Too much like a history book for my liking, didn't finish it.
Mari Olsen
The beginning of my love affair with South Africa...
Mehrsa
Beautifully written description of apartheid south Africa.
Mary
Mary marked it as to-read
Jan 10, 2015
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Jan 05, 2015
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Alan Stewart Paton was born and educated in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. He started his career by teaching at a school in Ixopo where he met and married his first wife. The dramatic career change to director of a reformatory for black youths at Diepkloof, near Johannesburg, had a profound effect on his thinking. The publication of Cry, The Beloved Country (1948) made him one of South Africa's ...more
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