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Cry, the Beloved Country | [Alan Paton]

Cry, the Beloved Country

This is the most distinguished novel that has come out of South Africa in the 20th century, and it is one of the most important novels of the modern era. Cry, the Beloved Country is in some ways a sad book; it is an indictment of a social system that drives native races into resentment and crime; it is a story of Fate, as inevitable, as relentless, as anything of Thomas Hardy's. Beautifully wrought with high poetic compassion, Cry, the Beloved Country is more than just a story, it is a profound experience of the human spirit.
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Publisher's Summary

This is the most distinguished novel that has come out of South Africa in the 20th century, and it is one of the most important novels that has appeared anywhere in modern times. Cry, the Beloved Country is in some ways a sad book; it is an indictment of a social system that drives native races into resentment and crime; it is a story of Fate, as inevitable, as relentless, as anything of Thomas Hardy's. Beautifully wrought with high poetic compassion, Cry, the Beloved Country is more than just a story, it is a profound experience of the human spirit. And beyond the intense and insoluble personal tragedy, it is the story of the beautiful and tragic land of South Africa, its landscape, its people, and its bitter racial ferment and unrest.

Public Domain ©1948 by Alan Paton; (P)1993 by Blackstone Audiobooks

What Members Say

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4.1 (573 )
5 star
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Story
4.2 (245 )
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  •  
    Benedict San Francisco, US, Canada 05-08-06
    Benedict San Francisco, US, Canada 05-08-06 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    405
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    "The best"

    I wonder if there could have been a more important book, a better reading of any book, or a more moving book for finding a humanity within oneself that certainly I did not know I had--but now do.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theresa Pinole, CA, USA 03-15-08
    Theresa Pinole, CA, USA 03-15-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    "Cry the Beloved Country"

    The book is a must read, and should be assigned to every high school senior or college freshman, it is that important. And if you're not in school, read it anyway. It is a wonderfully written-book about South Africa, apartheid, the very human face of the conditions and struggle for freedom. The reason I'm only giving it 4 stars is that I think the narrator (Frederic Davidson) did not help to enhance the material, and at times was somewhat of a distraction. His "female voice" made both my husband and I shake our heads. Even given that, I would have ordered this book again, because the writing and the characters are beautiful, vivid, alive, and they, and the author who gave them life, deserve our respectful and heartfelt attention.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Richland, WA, USA 09-10-04
    Lisa Richland, WA, USA 09-10-04 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    6
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    "A moving and timeless story of hope and compassion"

    I was expecting a story of the evilness and injustice in an apartheid South Africa, and while there was that, what I really heard was a moving story of hope, personal tragedy, and triumph over tragedy. Its a wonderful story of good people working beyond the expectations and rules of a divided culture. The story of the "broken tribes" and broken land is as timely now as it was then. It is truly timeless in the stories of the lives of the people and how they were affected by a unsustainble social system and economy. The characters are rich and interesting.
    I was initially put off by the voice of the narrator - his British accent is a very stuffy, old fashioned "World War II BBC" accent. But then that is the era of the book. His other "voices", Zulu and Afrikaans, are rich and wonderful to listen to. This was outstanding, and I'm sure I will listen to it again.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberlee Joos 02-08-04 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
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    1
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    "History With a Human Face"

    Alan Paton does a tremendous job of describing 1950's Apartheid S. Africa from a simple Zulu man's perspective. I found the story line to be intriguing and the narration to be outstanding.
    I will admit, Mr Paton's voice was at first difficult to listen to, but his ability to accent the English, Afrikaans and Zulu characters provided great depth to the narration and made the book truly engaging.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SoCal Walker Irvine, CA 07-23-10
    SoCal Walker Irvine, CA 07-23-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    27
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    "Unfortunate choice of readers"

    This is my favorite book of all time, and I've read it many, many times. I thought I'd enjoy hearing it read, but his reading seemed all wrong . . . very casual, very British-upper-class . . . like he himself was bored with the book. (Maybe I wanted/expected a more "African" voice?) Anyway, I didn't enjoy it, and the problem was not the book itself, because believe me-- I love this book. I guess the reader just didn't match the voice in my head.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Arlington, VA, USA 06-30-06
    Robert Arlington, VA, USA 06-30-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    3
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    "Moving - A Great Read!"

    Simply a great book. The story is moving and universal -- all can understand. I don't know South African accents...but, it doesn't really matter. The book could have been read by an American and still tell its story. Don't pass this up.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Planetary Defense Commander Catfish City 01-10-05
    Planetary Defense Commander Catfish City 01-10-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
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    14
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    5
    Overall
    "Not what I expected"

    When I got this book, I assumed it would be just an account of atrocities, and although the book could be classified as a tragedy, that's not its whole point. There are many characters who are positive role models dealing with difficult circumstances.

    I was also surprised to learn to what extent modern South Africa's problems existed when this book was written.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeanette New York, NY, USA 04-24-04
    Jeanette New York, NY, USA 04-24-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful story and narration"

    I was drawn in by the story and couldn't stop listening ot this book! The narration is wonderful, the voices of the different characters are done very differently. LOVED it!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yvonne cloquet, MN, USA 01-19-04
    Yvonne cloquet, MN, USA 01-19-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Cry, the Beloved Country"

    Great insight into South Africa. Nice parellel between a white man and a black man faced with difficult times. Well written.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vira Pretoria, South Africa 02-12-14
    Vira Pretoria, South Africa 02-12-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Performance
    Story
    "Not a dry eye in this face!"

    What can I say? A beautiful book, beautifully narrated by Michael York.
    Except for:
    "Sofeeeyatown"??????? Its pronounced SoFIYA town" with the accent on the FIYA and veld is not like a gentle [s]velte m'dear but FELT! agge nee. fIRE AND fELT, this is Africa!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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