Tracy's Reviews > Cry, the Beloved Country

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
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Feb 04, 08

it was amazing
bookshelves: five-star-books
Recommended to Tracy by: My Mom
Recommended for: everyone
Read in January, 2013

** spoiler alert ** A beautiful, uplifting story. Time to read it again! (my 2008 review)

Read again for Ward Book Club January 2013
I like the respectful language of the book, and the way they talk to each other. Go well. Stay well. It is not a matter for money. This is the heaviest thing of all my years. I think it's beautiful.

I like the Jarvis's, James and his wife. His son describes them as: upright, kind and law-abiding, honourable, charitable and generous. I love the scene where Jarvis and Kumalo meet unexpectedly, and Jarvis helps Kumalo who is struggling to tell who he is. "I have heard you. I understand what I did not understand. There is no anger in me." His heart grows from his son's writings about the destruction of the tribe and the exploitation of the natives. He honors his son's memory by doing what his son would have done, provides milk and a farming trainer and a dam for the restoration of the valley where his son's murderer grew up.

I relate to the characters. Poor and simple Reverend Kumalo and his wife, the talented and resourceful pastors in Johannesburg (Misimangu and Father Vincent), Mrs. Lethebe ("what else are we born for?"), Absalom, Gertrude, the girl (she has no other name), the friend who carried his luggage, the poor families in Johannesburg, Arthur Jarvis the liberal, James Jarvis the farmer, Mrs. Jarvis who loved her son.

I like the lyrical passages at various points through the story. "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." They evoke pictures in my mind, which is I guess what poetry is supposed to do.

The story is uplifting and ennobling. It makes you want to be a better, kinder, more fair and generous person.
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