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
This book transports you to Africa... the descriptions are so detailed, the characters completely developed ... and while doing so provides an essential education into the meaning and madness of apartheid. Narration is superb. This one left me thinking for quite some time …
I live in South Africa, and I am horrified at the accents adopted by Frederick Davidson. They are not even vaguely Zulu, and they ruin the book completely. Alan Paton's classic deserved a reader who can do it justice. I have no problem with Davidson's English accent for narration, but his character accents sound more like they came from the Indian subcontinent than southern Africa. It's a crying shame.
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.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
Poetic, sad, beautiful . . . transcending time, Cry, the Beloved Country, is as relevant today as it was in 1948 when Alan Paton wrote it . . . the simple lives of the South African people, their faith, their struggles and resilience . . . poured out in a rhythmic flowing verse that pierces the heart . . . strips away all pretense . . . a humble black pastor, a prodigal son gone to the city, gone wrong . . . way wrong . . . and his father, heartbroken, searching him out, fearing what he will find . . . and never making excuses for his son's sin . . . but ever loving, pining for him . . . As circumstances bring native black Afrikaans up against white people in a time of Apartheid, I am amazed and humbled, that this book is not in the least political or racially motivated. The overarching theme is love, even in the face of evil, character, even when things are most difficult, humility even when others do not see you as their equal, perseverance, when there is no rain, when there is no milk, when there is no help . . . and gratitude to God for even the smallest of blessings. This is one of the most important books of our time. Everyone should read/hear it.
A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!
I really wanted to enjoy this book. It is an important piece of literature that opened a window into a world little understood at the time. But I just couldn't find myself drawn to it. I did listen to the book and while the narrator was good, I wonder if this is one of those examples where the beauty and power of a book is lost through this medium. In the end, it was a disappointing use of my time, and that makes me sad.
I'm sure that this is a wonderful piece of literature, but the author's accent was very difficult for me to understand. He also did not do a good job of differentiating between characters with his voice, which made the plot difficult to follow. I restarted the book but eventually gave up because I had to work so hard to follow what was going on! Since I find that the narrator makes the audio book, maybe we should read this one..
The Theos Project
A classic novel, an important novel, and an audio performance worthy of the work. Paton teases out the nuances and subtle textures of diverse peoples and cultures struggling among and against each other, grappling with their fears of one another, and seeking a way forward in a time where wisdom and insight were so needed. Historically set just before the implementation of Apartheid, Cry, The Beloved Country illuminates a nation on the fragile edge of possibility, a nation whose white power structure would ultimately choose to plunge the nation deeper into darkness and chaos. Yet in this novel, the author does something great by presenting us with the panoramic of perspectives.
This is a marvelous book; consider listening to this alternating with Archbishop Desmond Tutu's book God Has a Dream. But please audible! Get a person to read it with the proper accent and tenderness. The narrator really takes away from this awesome book. A person with the proper accent would make this a real gem.
Beautifully written, memorable work. This book is probably a classic; if not, it should be. Michael York is one of my favorite readers. Excellent novel...educational as well as entertaining! Paton's novel is now on my list of all-time favorites.
I truly enjoyed this story. It was a bit slow in points, but the story is captivating of the struggles of blacks under the oppressive apartheid system of South Africa. There is injustice, but also there is hope for the future. The narration was quite good as well. The reader used appropriate drama and held my interest for the majority of the reading.
"Well worth it"
A very moving story, capturing the essence of South Africa at the time, and exceptionally well narrated.
"A classic for everyone with Africa in their Blood"
I was enraptured from start to finish - this book captures the spirit of South Africa, the story holds you spellbound from start to finish - a true classic
"South African classic; read by non South African"
I picked up this well known (and no doubt dated) South African novel by famed liberal writer, Alan Paton. I wanted to hear again the much quoted beautiful opening paragraph about the meandering hills and dusty roads of Ixopo; despite the limitations of South African liberalism and associated writings.
I had to put it down after the first few pages, seriously irritated by the cultured English rather than South African accent of Michael York, making well known terms like 'veld' (Afrikaans) and names like 'Ixopo' (Zulu) or 'Sophiatown' mispronounced and ultimately irritating, paragraph by paragraph, page by page.
Audio recordings may not have to be read by somebody from the book locale and setting, but if names and local terms are poorly pronounced and understood by the narrator, so much of context is lost and the story becomes jarring and painful rather than mellifluous as this novel's opening paragraph must be...
Audible should set up a place where recommendations for narrators and needed recordings or re-recordings might be made. How about somebody like Antony Sher for 'Cry, The Beloved Country' - which in its title already conveys so much...
"Beautiful and moving."
Fascinating to read of life in pre-Apartheid South Africa. And yet this human traits remain timeless. This narrator made the olden style of writing sound natural, and easy to follow.
Only once or twice, when the subject of a chapter switched focus, did I wonder if I'd skipped too far - I hadn't, the story simply brought in and followed another strand for a while. But without the ability to see the page numbers, I had to trust Audible (as I cycled along).
I would highly recommend this book, and recommend it on audible.
"A beautiful sad book about a beautiful sad country"
One of the best - great descriptive writing, dignified characters, a moving plot
Cry the Beloved Country really brings home the devastation wrought on local communities by industrialisation and urbanisation
Michael York's reading brings all the characters to life as dignified human beings
The trial and of course the ending.
"excellent book, strongly recommend it"
yes, both the story line and the readers voice is very captivating.
The lead character forced to face the reality of a changing South Africa.
He has a fabulous talent for performing as an old african man.
It made me very reflective of human nature and its ability to cause both violence and goodness in equal measures.
This is a classic novel about South Africa, at a time of social change. Though it is highly politically charged, it is also very human and very accessible to all readers, regardless of their personal interests in the continent. It addresses complex issues of good and evil in humans.
"Warm and informative"
The simplicity and selflessness of the protagonist.
The juxtaposition of Johannesburg with homeland of the protagonist creates a chasm which is impossible to cross. Seeing the city through the eyes not only of a stranger to the place, but through someone who is a true stranger to urbanisation brought a new dimension.
York has a warmth to his voice which feels as though he has experienced the narrative and adds a gravitas to it that would perhaps be missed otherwise.
Pity. The destruction of lives and the selfishness of people in the city, even of his own family, who with no regard for those they left behind began lives in the city of dereliction and immorality. What could bring someone to do that?
"A must-read book, very well narrated"
A compelling read, setting the recent history of South Africa in context. Wonderfully developed characters throughout. Very well narrated.
Report Inappropriate Content