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Cry, the Beloved Country

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  55,480 Ratings  ·  3,331 Reviews
An Oprah Book Club selection, Cry, the Beloved Country, the most famous and important novel in South Africa’s history, was an immediate worldwide bestseller in 1948. Alan Paton’s impassioned novel about a black man’s country under white man’s law is a work of searing beauty.

Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love t
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ebook, 320 pages
Published November 25th 2003 by Scribner (first published 1948)
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Kiara Maharaj "Cry, the beloved country" means that our country should mourn as the land is dying and people are losing their morals, turning to crime and becoming…more"Cry, the beloved country" means that our country should mourn as the land is dying and people are losing their morals, turning to crime and becoming corrupt. The subtitle "A story of comfort in desolation" refers to one of the characters, Khumalo. Throughout his stay in Johannesburg, he faces many problems which makes him feel alone. This is the "desolation". But there were other people who supported him, and helped him face these problems. This is the "comfort". Hence, "comfort in desolation".(less)
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Will Byrnes
Oct 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a classic, written by a white South African about a time before apartheid. Two fathers, one white, one black and their sons. It is stylistically unusual. Quotes are not used, for example. Conversation is indicated by leading dashes. Also the speech is quite formal most of the time, which conveys some of the culture of the place, I expect. Dark forces are abroad, but hope shows its face here as well, as there are leaders trying to prevent a descent into the madness to come. Zulu pastor St ...more
John Wiswell
Jun 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: African issues readers, historical readers, modern classics readers, humanitarian readers
This isn't an infinitely quotable book, but occasionally it produces a line that is devastatingly clear and true. Lines like, "It was not his habit to dwell on what could have been, but what could never be." and, “It is the duty of a judge to do justice, but it is only the people who can be just.” made me put the book down and stare dumbfounded at the wall. But mostly this isn't a highly quotable book; it's a beautifully written, riveting book where passages or entire halves of scenes are compel ...more
Kat
I am a teacher and, after 34 years, attempt to find new combinations in the catalogue of "must reads." I have done this as a staple for years. Last year, when deciding what I wanted to do - kind of like window shopping for lovely clothes -- I decided to read this book after reading Hamlet. I love the mirrored plot structure. I adore the fact that the land is a character. The moral imperative and subsequent hemming and hawing in Hamlet takes on a different light and life in the beautifully wrough ...more
Marcia Case
Jan 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just when I thought I had a handle on this book, it got really complicated. After getting over the shock of how much South African history and turmoil were skimmed over or ignored completely in my history classes, I felt like this story outlined a pretty clear cut good guy vs an obvious bad guy. My initial thoughts were that the natives were a perfectly content group of people who were just fine on their own until the Europeans stepped in and muddled up their entire culture. I thought Johannesbu ...more
Brook
Apr 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cant say enough about this book. It is lyrically written, reads almost like an epic out of Ireland. The dialog between characters is straightforward, and the book manages to give you a glimpse of Apartheid S. Africa, from the richest people, to the poor urban laborers, to the criminals, to the peaceful rural farmers trying to maintain their land after many years of neglect. This is a classic that I have read probably 3 or 4 times.

My copy is beat to hell, but readable.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Cry, The Beloved Country, Alan Paton
Cry, the Beloved Country is a novel by Alan Paton, published in 1948.
In the remote village of Ndotsheni, in the Natal province of eastern South Africa, the Reverend Stephen Kumalo receives a letter from a fellow minister summoning him to Johannesburg. He is needed there, the letter says, to help his sister, Gertrude, who the letter says has fallen ill. Kumalo undertakes the difficult and expensive journey to the city in the hopes of aiding Gertrude and of fin
...more
Denise
Jun 04, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is one of those classics that I'm glad I read, but will probably never read again. The themes are important (racial equality, morality, forgiveness) and the writing is lyrical, but it's still hard to read. Alan Paton doesn't use any quotation marks. He chooses, instead, to preface each line of dialogue with a dash. I could get used to this technique, if he were consistent with it, but he's not. Sometimes the dialogue is in the middle of a paragraph, with no indication it's spoken aloud ...more
Beth
Nov 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I was supposed to read Cry, the Beloved Country my senior year of high school. But you know how senior year is. Well, I wasn’t like that — promise. I wasn’t one who started slacking because I had my acceptance letter to college in hand. But I did decide that I didn’t really care for English, and that I found my European History class much more fascinating, and thus I spent all my study time pouring over my history textbook instead of my English novels (especially since the in-class discussions w ...more
Amal Bedhyefi
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finished reading another amazing classic !
Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son, Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice.
This was a deeply moving/ eye-opener book that will stay with me for a long time.
Paton touches on almost every level of trouble in post-colonial South Africa: racism, classism, elitism, residual imperical feelings, how wealth corrupts natives, arbitrary segregation, the lo
...more
Ashley
Sep 22, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who don't know how to read and just make it up anyways.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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...
“The tragedy is not that things are broken. The tragedy is that things are not mended again.” 199 likes
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