Too Late the Phalarope
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Too Late the Phalarope

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  752 ratings  ·  72 reviews

A Simon & Schuster eBook
Paperback, 287 pages
Published January 3rd 1996 by Scribner (first published January 1st 1950)
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Justin Lonas
People try to pigeonhole Paton's novels as being about Apartheid and racial tension or simply lump him in with other African writers as a good portrayer of South African life in the 20th century.

I think that Paton deserves to be listed among the all-time greats of English literature. He writes about universally understood concepts like love, parenthood, broken families, etc. Mostly, Paton writes about sin--from temptation to commission to confession to consequences. The fact that his work is lay...more
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Diane Gihring
Feb 27, 2011 Diane Gihring rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: anyone over 14
Recommended to Diane by: Kurt Kruger
Shelves: african-lit
I love this book. It is so powerful, especially to discuss in a class situation. And it is well written.

The story is a classic Greek Tragedy: the tragic hero is one of high standing in society, everyone loves and respects him. He has a tragic flaw-pride-and he makes a mistake in judgment and then he falls and hard! But he is not completely destroyed and actually in this case, I think the end result is all the better for Pieter and his immediate family.

I like how Paton has adopted the Greek Trage...more
Adam Fleming
I was turned on to this book because I put Paton's Cry The Beloved country on my top ten novels of all time list on Facebook and someone suggested I read it. Found it at one of my favorite used book stores and snatched it up for a buck or two.
Paton is most famous, I think, for Cry The Beloved Country, which was made into a major motion picture starring James Earl Jones. The simplicity of Paton's use of language sparkles, and the earthy imagery his characters pull out doesn't feel contrived but a...more
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No one speaks to the human soul through the use of language like Alan Paton. His exquisite use of prose is as powerful as it is lyrical. While not as emotionally rich as his masterpiece, "Cry, The Beloved Country", this novel is almost as enduring in its scope of human nature. One begins to really feel what it must have been like to be a white South African in a racially-divided world in post WWII almost as much as one can suppose the issues covered in the book are still faced to varying degrees...more
John Sharrock
This is my favorite book ever. Paton has such profound insight on the topic of justice. I enjoyed this book even more than Cry the Beloved Country!
Diving into this book is taking a trip to South Africa. He puts you there so fast and so effectively with his beautiful writing and thoughtful prose.
I think this book has a bit of weak start. The narrators voice isn't strong and I found myself confused as to whether we were talking about Pieter or his parents. Once I got that straightened out the pages really flew by. Also, when you find out the narrator is his weak, fragile aunt he may have done this perfectly.
Didn't anyone else think Alan Pat...more
Tasha Chinnock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
"Yet it comes to me that it is not the judgment of God but that of men which is a stranger to compassion; for the Lord said, go thou and sin no more."

The feeling of finishing a book that tips you into a better world and a better self and a greater heartbreak.

I had to give this book some space before I wrote about it. Paton has long been one of my favorite authors, solely on the strength of his book Cry, the Beloved Country. While some girls were having normal childhoods and writing A Walk to R...more
I've had to mull this one over for a few days to decide how I really feel about it. It was definitely not as impactful as "Cry, the Beloved Country." But a powerful story on its own. Here's what I liked:

*Paton's writing - I think some people would find it a bit detached and repetitive. It connects with me, though, and makes sense, approaching a senseless societal situation like apartheid with understated emotion. You certainly feel what's being portrayed without it being overly in your face.

*I l...more
This second novel by Alan Paton, who acheived instant fame for Cry, The Beloved Country, is another work that highlights injustice in aparthied South Africa. Pieter van Vlaanderen, a police lieutenant, revered in his community as much for his moral rectitude as for his rugby skills, harbors a secret and shameful lust for the black girl Stephanie, against which he struggles but finally gives in to, in violation of the 1927 Immorality Act criminalizing sexual intercourse between natives and Europe...more
Passage From Book:

I knew a man that counted the days, each day, everyday, tearing them off on the little block that stood on his desk. He was always looking at his watch, and saying it’s one o’clock or it’s four o’clock or it’s nine o’clock, as though it were something for satisfaction. When April went, he would say, April’s gone, and wait for May to go too. I never saw him on New Year’s Day, but I suppose he would have said, the old year’s gone; he was waiting for death, though he didn’t know...more
I read this for a class in college and re-read it now. what a profound book. About South Africa, apartheid, shame, temptation, individual and family brokenness, justice, and mercy. Very well done.
I can't decide what I think of this book...definitely a very well written book, I read the whole thing in a few hours, but I'm not sure how I feel about the story itself. Set in post WWII South Africa the main issue is of course race; there are "Immorality Laws" forbidding relationships between blacks and whites. Breaking these laws not only lead to prison, but disgrace for the entire family. It's no surprise what happens in the story along those lines, but there are also family relationship iss...more
This novel was a well written novel. I enjoyed the story overall and i liked the insight of South Africa. Alan Paton's "Cry the Beloved Country" showed South Africa from a native African's point of view. This novel, however, is from a white European's point of view.The novel touches base on the racism and mistreatment of blacks and the way things where run in the past. The author did very well at using his words to elicit emotions and sympathy from the reader. I personally enjoyed the book and i...more
After reading, and loving, Cry the Beloved Country, I was looking forward to reading this. I didn't like the way it was written at all. The story was good, but the way of writing did not appeal to me at all. The characters were not well-developed, and I just could not get into the story. From the description, I knew that a white man was going to get into trouble for consorting with a black woman in South Africa in the time of apartheid. The consequences for him an his family are terrible. I just...more
Chandra Power
I clicked the five stars and then sat here thinking I really don't know if I can say that I loved this book. Or even that I liked it. But I certainly didn't dislike it or hate it. It's one of those books that makes your heart ache for just about everyone. Set in South Africa during Apartheid, the novel is about racism and colonialism, fathers and sons, husbands and wives, aunts and nephews. It's about love and honor and betrayal and deceit and stupid laws. It's troubling me and I know it will be...more
Elizabeth Young
This is my touchstone book. I check out every book store to see if they have a copy of it. I love everything by Alan Paton but I think this tells more about the repressive nature not only of apartheid but the society that produced it. It is a very personal experience. I lived this man,s fear and loneliness and intense personal struggle with his demons. It is told through the loving and sensitive eyes of his aunt, herself an outsider, and that gives it such a wonderful depth of emotion.
I chose this book because of the affect Paton's CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY had upon my teen-age years.
All these many years later, I still was astounded to read of a place and time where an affair between an Afrikaner man and a black woman has greater racial and cultural consequences than the resultant broken marriage and family woes.
Apartheid is a theme in this story, but not the main one: passion, guilt, love and remorse play out, interestingly, without any graphic sexuality.
wes Goertzen
Oct 13, 2008 wes Goertzen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to wes by: sheree goertzen
Shelves: readingpleasure
my cousin recommened and gave me the book a long time ago. Too long ago really. I finally sat down to read it when heather was stateside. I thought hte book was really good. I kinda can related with the insanity or dark side of Pieter. I mean its a part of us. Paton's exploration reminded a bit of The Brothers Karamazov but i'm not sure exactly why...maybe just the depth and humanness (darkness and all) of the characters. Very good book, though not really a page turner.
Virgilio Machado
A Lei de Ferro usa as vidas de pessoas comuns para ilustrar a desumanidade da segregação racial Sul Africana. A segregação racial é odiosa em teoria e impossível de aplicar. Para o provar, Paton conta a história de Pieter, um polícia branco, que tem um caso com uma mulher nativa. É traído e denunciado e, por isso, envergonha-se a si próprio e à sua família.
Tanya W
This gripping novel explores the terrible family and social consequences of choices made in a culture that is very unforgiving of intimate relationships between whites and blacks. It also draws the reader’s compassion for the offending adulterer who unsuccessfully tries to let his wife know of his unfulfilled sexual needs.

What a tragic story, I hope the culture has become more accepting of interracial relationships.
An informative look at South African culture of the period. It's sometimes difficult to follow the plot, but the emotions of the characters are vivid and stunning. By the time the story reached its unfortunate conclusion, I was sympathetic to the plight of the characters negatively affected by the outcome of the story. Well done, Mr. Paton. I can see why this book is a well-remembered classic.
I thoroughly enjoyed my second Alan Paton book - the first being Cry, the Beloved Country. It is a story of inner conflict and turmoil, of weakness and sin, of misunderstanding and miscommunication, of destruction but also of love. It is set in South Africa with apartheid being the vehicle the author uses to explore these themes but it goes so much deeper than that.
Oct 20, 2008 T.J. rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: yumi
Too Late the Phalarope offers a devastating look into human brokenness, confession, and ultimately a failure of redemption. How many of us have secret selves? How many of us struggle to share those selves with others and fail? A painful, and beautiful book, although a bit rambling in style, this is the Paton that people should read just as often as cry the beloved country.
Geoffrey Stone
A surprisingly terrifying story about marital infidelity set in Apartheid South Africa. The writing is top-notch and although the narrative structure confused me a little at first, it really picks up in the second and third acts. I highly recommend it...if you're willing to put yourself through the emotional wringer.
A Dutch-origin South African cop and his difficulty in managing his libido, apartheid, Brits vs. Aafrikaners, etc. I couldn't relate to most of the characters in the book and felt the character development was just too flimsy. Skip this and just read "Cry the Beloved Country," which is deeply touching.
Not a long story, but intense and moving. I often found my heart in my throat while reading and was sad to see it end. I will be thinking about it for a long time to come. Simply beautiful with a unique eloquence that has firmly earned Alan Paton a place on my favorite authors list.
Jan 15, 2008 Colleen rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: everyone
I loved this book, I read it about 10 years ago. It is an under-rated South African classic. I prefer it to Cry the Beloved Country and it would make a brilliant movie. Full of all the terrible South African themes, but written in a gripping page turning, yet literary style.
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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
More about Alan Paton...
Cry, the Beloved Country Ah But Your Land Is Beautiful Tales From a Troubled Land Debbie Go Home Cry the Beloved Country

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“But perhaps when you were too obedient, and did not do openly what others did, and were quiet in church and hard-working at school, then some unknown rebellion brewed in you, doing harm to you, though how I do not understand.” 6 likes
“But to punish and not to restore, that is the greatest of all offences.” 3 likes
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