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Cry, the Beloved Country Audiobook

Cry, the Beloved Country

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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

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1147 )
5 star
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4.3 (761 )
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Story
4.4 (763 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 10-04-12
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 10-04-12 Member Since 2013

    When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.

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    "A word painting: gripping, breathtaking & moving"

    The more things change the more it stays the same. I live in Johannesburg, I am a minister of religion, I am an Afrikaner and a Policeman. This book deeply moved me. Something resonates with my soul as I see so much of this pre-Apartheid world still alive in the Johannesburg of today. I am astonished that the places (suburbs, townships, shacks, even the Midlands of Kwa-Zulu Natal) as painted by Alan Paton are so easily recognised. It felt as if I walked into the book… a book that was banned by the then Apartheid government.

    The story is gripping and lavishly beautiful. Paton sketches the contrasts of South Africa and the opinions of the different racial groups towards living together so accurate that the book has the feel of a documentary on the one hand, but driven by a deeply moving story arranged into three acts which can be summarised like this, act 1: the prodigal son goes to the forbidden place and his father goes in search of him act 2: what if the son wants to return, but he cannot because he is corrupted? ; act 3: a loss of innocence or an opportunity to renew.

    I am stunned as how Paton draws you in, let you bleed emotionally with Mfundisi (Reverend) Stephen Khumalo and his ‘opposite,’ James Jarvis. I am amazed how love and understanding is born out of hate. Yet, Paton doesn’t give easy answers – even political answers – to a country deep in pain, but let you cry out with him, “Nkosi Sikeleli Afrika!” (God save Africa!). To say the least, this is heavy and like the chief of Ixopo I am not sure if we as South Africans have the answer yet. But miracles do happen in the same way that the darkest clouds bring the best rain.

    This book comes greatly recommended. Everybody should listen or read it at least once in their life. It is also deeply religious and speaks to the soul. It is indeed heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time.

    The British actor, Michael York reads this story with so much pathos; it feels like an act of love. He grips you and doesn’t let you go. I will therefore forgive him his terrible Zulu and Afrikaans pronunciations… completely.

    If you don’t care to let the tears roll and be gay at the beauty of new and true human relationships, this book is for you!

    70 of 72 people found this review helpful
  •  
    01-09-04
    01-09-04 Member Since 2011
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    "South African Wonder"

    This is a truly wonderful book, made better by the excellent reading voice. An intense and plausible story, where virtue is seen in both black and white, and the shortcomings of man are also seen in black and white. Despite being 50 years old the story is still highly relevant. The descriptions of South Africa make it clear that it is both worthy of being called beloved and alas, also worthy of crying over....

    23 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hemant farmington, CT, USA 03-28-05
    Hemant farmington, CT, USA 03-28-05
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    "incredible book"

    truly one of the best books I have ever read. marvelous narrator. the power of the writing is such that the most ordinary scene is elevated to a level of deep meaning. makes modern works which have recieved great New York Times reviews seem absolutely shallow and poorly written when compared to this masterpiece. Cry the Beloved Country makes it clear how great and transcendent the best literature can be.

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blair Gilbert, AZ, United States 06-10-04
    Blair Gilbert, AZ, United States 06-10-04 Member Since 2014
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    "A Good Classic is Timeless"

    What a great audio book. The narrator is fabulous but it is the material - the book itself - that is so timely and timeless. I am just starting to work in Mozambique over the last four years in a small NGO and my travel always take me through South Africa. This book is just as timely now as then, I'm sure. I see the hopes and the fears of both white and black very evident in so much of what once was colonial Africa and now the struggling-to-emerge modern Africa. It is still as portrayed in this classic work.

    We have adopted a little Mozambican daughter who has come to the US to grow up with us in America. This book will go into a growing collection of works that I will one day share with her as she grows older to help her understand what was, what is, and what is possible in her world.

    32 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 06-21-14
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 06-21-14 Member Since 2015

    Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.

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    "NELSON MANDELA"

    In listening to “Cry, the Beloved Country”, one should remember it was published in 1948. Alan Paton’s book is an update to “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. It is less brutal than Wright’s “Native Son” or Morrison’s “Beloved” but it strikes at the heart of apartheid and the insidious nature of discrimination and slavery.

    Life is full of compromise; full of good and evil. The fictional Kumalo and real Mandela did the best they could do which is better than 99% of the human race. “Cry, the Beloved Country” begs the question of what is right and infers much of South Africa’s suppression was driven by white’ fear; but, in broader context, Paton reveals the complex and insidious evil of discrimination.

    Paton creates a few white characters with a growing understanding of the consequence of discrimination while subtly injecting a more militant black movement. Again, one is reminded of Mandela’s early life, his militancy and imprisonment.

    “Cry the Beloved Country” gives one some idea of what life must have been like for Nelson Mandela.

    28 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Penny ALDARA PARK, South Africa 11-29-08
    Penny ALDARA PARK, South Africa 11-29-08
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    "Two Words"

    How do you rate a classic novel of all time, that is well read, but the narrator gets the names wrong?

    "Sophiatown" is NOT promounced SOfiah-town, but so-FIRE-town.

    "Veld" is pronounced felt (as in heartfelt).

    These words occur often throughout the novel, and every time they are used I wince. Do these audiobook publishers do NO RESEARCH at all? Is it really OK to mangle the Afrikaans quotes so badly that one has to burst out laughing? Is it OK to have a phony accent that makes a South African cringe? I have lived in Johannesburg all my life and I never heard anyone speaking like the white man from the reformatory.

    So, Michael York's narration skill gets 5, but subtract 2 for bad research. The story gets 5+, and is worth listening to. It's a great novel. Unfortunately a lot of what Alan Paton wrote in 1948 is still applicable 60 years later. SA is now a democracy, and Apartheid is no longer law, but the crime in Johannesburg is still just as bad, and there are still squatter settlements and poor people being exploited.

    76 of 83 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Richland, WA, USA 09-10-04
    Lisa Richland, WA, USA 09-10-04 Member Since 2014
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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.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theresa Pinole, CA, USA 03-15-08
    Theresa Pinole, CA, USA 03-15-08
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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.

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Arlington, VA, USA 06-30-06
    Robert Arlington, VA, USA 06-30-06
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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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jesse Indianapolis, IN, USA 10-09-03
    Jesse Indianapolis, IN, USA 10-09-03
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    "Cry the Beloved Country"

    I first read this book in high school. I entered it uninterested and slightly rebellious. But Paton drew me in. At times I couldn't follow what was going on, I was a mere 17. But years later, I remember this book. This is a book that demands a second visit and a renewed look at man's treatment of man.

    69 of 82 people found this review helpful

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