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Too Late The Phalarope
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Too Late The Phalarope

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,094 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
From the author of Cry, The Beloved Country comes a powerful novel of terror and remorse “written in exquisitely balanced prose” (Chicago Sun-Times) about a white policeman who has an affair with a native girl in South Africa.

After violating his country’s ironclad law governing relationships between the races, a young white South African police lieutenant must struggle alo
ebook, 288 pages
Published November 29th 2011 by Scribner (first published 1953)
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Justin Lonas
May 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Sharrock
Oct 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Tasha Chinnock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane Gihring
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Adam Fleming
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-of-2014
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
Oct 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth Young
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Erin Hecker
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the surface, this is a simple story of forbidden desire. But, the themes stay with you long after: the driving power of lust, and the internal conflict of right vs wrong. It is haunting and tragic and real.
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Can person's life be destroyed by one senseless act of passion? Can this destruction extend to his family? Pieter's tightly wound life becomes unraveled and events go out of control. Good suspense here. Also it's a good portrait of colonial racism.
Alana Francis
A reread from many years ago. Had forgotten how very sad and horrible those times were.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was like a movie, with an ending so terrible I wished I could have stopped reading before the inevitable. Not a happily ever after, that I usually like to read.
Apr 03, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Patrick Cook
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paton tends to be viewed largely as a political novelist, which is understandable given his role as a founder of the Liberal Party and his role as a witness for the defence at the Rivonia Trial. Paton's politics, although admirable for their time and considered dangerously subversive by the Apartheid government, have come under justifiable critique from post-colonial critics. He is on surer ground when it comes to universal themes of sin and redemption.

To Late the Phalarope' isn't as explicitly
May 18, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This second novel by Alan Paton, who achieved 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
Cindy Rinaman
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-reviews

This book takes us into another world, showing the struggle of one man against his own heart in his own culture, and the far-reaching effects his failure has. We know this from the opening pages, narrated by his elderly aunt, who is a nearly omniscient narrator throughout. We hear the protagonist's voice sometimes, too. But what happens when you're obsessed with the idea of possessing a woman not your own? And you live in Apartheid South Africa mid-twentieth-century? And you are from a deeply re
Oct 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 02, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A white police lieutenant violates South Africa's hard rule prohibiting inter-racial relationships and suffers the consequences for his actions. But not only him, his entire extended family as well.
I struggled with this from start to finish. For one thing, every time I sat down to read, I dozed off at some point. It took me quite a while to figure out that the narrator is the lieutenant's aunt. In several places I had a hard time following that part of the plot in terms of the overall story li
Sadiq sagheer
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book but not as perfect as "Cry the Beloved Country" which is perhaps the best book I have ever read. This book is more of Metaphorical if compare with Paton's best " Cry the Beloved Country".like Paton's other novels and work this novel is also based upon Apartheid environment.
Story is based upon the life of Pieter van Vlanderan and his family, Pieter a police sergeant who fall in love with a black girl and break the Immorality Act of South Africa for which he was later punished
Apr 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
3/5 stars

This was a really interesting novel about the Aparthied laws in South Africa. Although the topic was very interesting, and the writing style deep and emotional (I teared up near the end of this book), I found myself confused at many points. Some of the stories that were branched into were hard for me to follow, and the Point of View was a bit difficult for me personally. I also had some trouble distinguishing between some of the names (Japie and Kappie for example. I had trouble with
Jul 31, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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...
“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.” 6 likes
More quotes…