My own grandfather was very close to Alan Paton. They worked together, in South Africa, on the developments of a Liberal Party, the purpose of which was to help the blacks. They wanted, primarily, to create legally equality of the races. Eventually, Paton would come to North America, touring and lecturing. My grandparents showed him Toronto. And so, I myself have a special bias in favour of Paton.
Having read his CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY, I can only applaud the man. His very style is mimical of Steibeck's THE GRAPES OF WRATH. There is repitition (individual sentences are said over and over), poetry, and the asking of philosophical questions.
The story is of Stephen Kumalo, a black priest. He has lost his family. His brother, sister, and son have left the village. They have gone to Johannesburg, where the white men are. Where industry is. And so the journey begins. In fact, Kumalo will see things he has never seen before. He will be robbed, he will be lied to, he will be tired of walking so many miles, he will see prostitution, crime, hatred. The simplicity of his beautiful village is not found here in Johannesburg. Incidentally, he finds some white men who show compassion to him. I will say no more.
The story has depth of passion, brilliance, and love of South Africa. Paton, himself a white man, devoted his life to the helping of blacks. He was a hero to South Africa, and remains a hero even to me.
Please read this book.