Cry, the Beloved Country (Banned Books) Hardcover
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
"Cry, the Beloved Country" is sometimes described as an indictment of apartheid-era South Africa, but in fact it was written in 1946, two years before the election of Daniel Malan's Nationalist government which introduced the apartheid system. The word "apartheid" has now passed into English as a synonym for racist discrimination, but it was originally an Afrikaans word meaning "separateness", and was used to describe the Nationalists' grand scheme for "separate development" of the various races of South Africa. As the book makes clear, however, racial discrimination and injustice already existed under the pre-1948 United Party government of Jan Smuts; indeed, some of what were later to become the most hated features of apartheid, such as the pass laws, were already in force. It is this injustice which is the theme of Alan Paton's novel.
South Africa was originally an agrarian society, and remained one long after the start of European colonisation in the seventeenth century; for many years the Afrikaners were known to the English as "Boers", a word which literally means "Farmers". By the twentieth century, however, the discovery of the country's mineral wealth led to a South African industrial revolution, and South African industry was dependent on cheap black labour.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The greatest thing about this story is its sobering effect. In fact, when I first came across this book, I was initially taken aback. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Janvar Massa
During the 19th century aggressive and competitive colonial expansion by the British and the Dutch Afrikaaners from the Cape Colony into the interior had substantially dispossessed... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Nick Butcher
I read this many years ago, but still have the memory of having moved beyond words. Please read it - it gives a good perspective on apartheid ridden South Africa of the past.Published 10 months ago by MS ANNE C CLARKE
"Cry the Beloved Country is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance born of the dignity of man." reads the book description. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Andy Creighton
I came across this "classic" on a high bookshelf and took it on holiday as a possible read. Written about 1968 and published in 1948 I found the language and style wondrous... Read morePublished 11 months ago by CN