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Cry, the Beloved Country: A Story of Comfort in Desolation [Paperback]

Alan Paton
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 18 Dec 1995 --  
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Book Description

18 Dec 1995 0684818949 978-0684818948
In the city of Johannesburg a father seeks his delinquent son. His search takes him through a labyrinth of murder, prostitution, racial hatred and, ultimately, reconciliation.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall & IBD & Scribner (18 Dec 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684818949
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684818948
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,800,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"A beautiful novel, rich, firm and moving-its writing is so fresh, its projection of character so immediate and full, its events so compelling and its understanding so compassionate, that to read the book is to share intimately, even to the point of catharsis, in the grave human experience treated." (New York Times)

"The greatest novel to emerge out of the tragedy of South Africa and one of the best novels of our time" (The New Republic) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

First published in 1948, Cry The Beloved Country stands as the single most important novel in twentieth-century South African literature. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
IT IS SOME eleven years since the first Author's Note was written. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Paton touches a nation 's soul. 9 Feb 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have read this novel twice. It is truely a work which challenges the reader on various levels. At times you are locked in a wonderful lyrical poem; the descriptions of South Africa are vivid and so authentic that you are there. Paton is wise enough to pace the action in a previous time. There is no one that is naive enough to keep the heart wretching drama in the past. It is prehaps these fact that everyone can relate to in the pathos of Rev. Kumalo in his journey to reunite the tribe and his gradual awakening to the fact that there are changes that are occurring that his compassion and tears can do nothing for. Indeed this is worth the reading. The only complaint I have is that there is not enough attention given to Gertrude. But this criticism does not decrease the value of the book. One can still see Mr. James Jarvis in the delipated church as the rain washes away his hatred and it is replaced by compassion. "Cry The Beloved Country" is not just a novel about South Africa but about the social injustices we all see around, or at least we should be able to see .
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping story 3 Feb 2005
Format:Paperback
It is a blessing for a booklover to come across a story which is so deep like Cry the beloved country. The characters are dissected and made so real. The plot is awesome and the pace of the story is fast moving. Plotted in the depth of Apartheid South Africa, this story brought out the lamentation of a soul of a nation, a lamentation that is felt by all the different ethnic and racial groups involved. I watched the movie on the story "Amok" and it gave the full visual presentation of the story. I will recommend this book to all booklovers with a curious mind about an era, a people and a nation that stared at disaster straight in the eyes and chose the option of peace.Also recommended:The usurper and other stories, Disciples of Fortune,Animal farm
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The compelling and sad tale of South Africa 3 Feb 2006
By HORAK
Format:Paperback
Reverend Stephen Kumalo lives with his wife in a remote village, Ndotsheni, where he is a respected umfundisi. His sister Gertrude, his brother John and his son Absalom have all gone to live to Johannesburg. One day The reverend receives a letter from Theophilus Msimangu urging him to come to Johannesburg because Gertrude is very sick.
And so begins Stephen's long descent from the mountains to the capital which almost resembles a descent into Hell. Indeed, he is to discover that Gertrude is a prostitute and liquor seller who doesn't care about her young daughter, that John is a politician fighting against the white leadership and that Absalom has murdered a white man.
Mr Paton admirably portrays all the contradictions which the people of South Africa endured in the 1950s. And he does so through the eyes of a forlorn old man who tries to make sense of the way the members of his family behave. The author's humanity, compassion, generosity and wisdom are apparent in every sentence he writes and his novel shows with sensitivity the complex social and racial issues in a country where so many had to suffer for so long.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensibility and political accuracy 11 Sep 1996
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Whenever we finish a great book we feel a deep sorrow,
just as we were leaving behind good friends. When you finish
this specific book, you'll feel like crying, for the loss
of friends like Rev. Kumalo is very hard to take.

"Cry, the beloved country"is one of the best books I have
ever read. You can feel the passion for South Africa that
Mr. Paton felt, you will be touched by the Rev. Kumalo's
search, and will feel frail, just like he did.
But that is not all this book has to offer. It is also
an accusation agains the prepotent owners of the power and
an accurate description of Apartheid long before it has
become legal.

You will become involved with this story and will not be
able to put this book down. If you want to read an excellent
book, pick this one and I can assure you will not be disapointed.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking 5 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Cry, the Beloved Country is my all time favorite book. It dives deep into the African experience using the life of a minister. From the beginning paragraph when Paton gives his description of the land of Africa I was hooked. This book touched my heart and inner emotions, and yet was entertaining. When and if you do read this work take it slow and envelop the inner meaning. It will definetly stop you and make you think. Give it a try!!!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A simply wonderful book 24 July 2003
Format:Paperback
Stephen Kumalo, an old, poor Zulu priest from the drought-stricken, dying village of Ndotsheni in the Natal, must use his meager life savings to travel to 1940s Johannesburg, to seek out his sister and son, who left long ago. “When people go to Johannesburg, they do not come back”. There he encounters the squalor, poverty and crime of the big city, and there he meets Msimangu, a fellow priest who offers him help and comfort on what becomes a terrible journey of discovery. For he finds that his sister has become a prostitute, and his son one of a gang of housebreakers who ultimately shoots and kills a prominent white liberal, and must hang for his crime. By coincidence, the dead man is the son of Kumalo’s white neighbour, Jarvis, who owns a farm in the hills above Ndotsheni.
Such are the bare bones of Alan Paton’s “story of comfort in desolation”, around which he has created what I would rate as one of the greatest of twentieth century novels. This is a book of extraordinary power and beauty, and has lost none of its impact now that the apartheid South Africa it describes is finally gone. The situation of privileged whites living off the exploitation of cheap black (or Asian or South American or East European) labour, of affluence existing side-by-side with dire poverty, is hardly unique to a particular time or place. Paton’s writing is direct yet also poetic, and for all the apparent simplicity of style this is not an easy book to read for anyone of sensitive disposition, particularly a parent of young children. His prose cuts through the trivial preoccupations of life to reveal the essential and timeless, in a way that strikes at the heart and which I still find genuinely moving after countless re-readings.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
brilliant read, South Africa really hasnt changed that much
Published 18 days ago by ELEANOR
5.0 out of 5 stars South African History
I have had the privilege of reading another title by Alan Paton, Journey "Towards the mountain" and just want to continue reading of more titles by him to expand my... Read more
Published 4 months ago by GenXAfroNegro
5.0 out of 5 stars Deservedly a Classic
This book was written in the late 1940's, but given South Africa's turbulent political history and its upcoming election it seems as modern now as it must have on first publication... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley
5.0 out of 5 stars A compass that will not lie
That is what this book has always been for me. I love Mr Kumalo and uJarvis particularly.

Seems to go together with Gandhi's biography, Biko: I write what I like edited... Read more
Published 9 months ago by .
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving story set in pre-apartheid South Africa
Written honestly and feelingly, with moments of utter wretchedness and yet a positive outlook - possibly because we know how the South Africa story unfolded.
Published 14 months ago by KG
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - a book that`s really worth reading.
The writer paints a vivid picture of life in South Africa in the 1940s. Absolutely excellent. The sign of a good book for me is when you keep thinking about the issues presented in... Read more
Published 14 months ago by BGH
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
i got this book for my wife as we had spent a few years in South Africa a few years back. She enjoyed the book and would recommend it .
Published 15 months ago by Ian Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars This Novel Cries Out...
to be read, well over half a century since Alan Paton understood and mourned for his beloved South Africa.Prepare to be profoundly affected, moved and informed. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jose Spinks
3.0 out of 5 stars Cry, the Beloved Country
This copy was fair. Not the front cover as depicted in the advertising (and the particular front cover I had wanted). Back cover bent and rather dirty. Read more
Published 16 months ago by soprano 1
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
My book group loved this book and I have passed this on to a friend. Would recommend this as a good read
Published 18 months ago by Miss Marlene Collins
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