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Cry, the Beloved Country: Classic Collection Audio CD – May 1 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
In search of missing family members, Zulu priest Stephen Kumalo leaves his South African village to traverse the deep and perplexing city of Johannesburg in the 1940s. With his sister turned prostitute, his brother turned labor protestor and his son, Absalom, arrested for the murder of a white man, Kumalo must grapple with how to bring his family back from the brink of destruction as the racial tension throughout Johannesburg hampers his attempts to protect his family. With a deep yet gentle voice rounded out by his English accent, Michael York captures the tone and energy of this novel. His rhythmic narration proves hypnotizing. From the fierce love of Kumalo to the persuasive rhetoric of Kumalo's brother and the solemn regret of Absalom, York injects soul into characters tempered by their socioeconomic status as black South Africans. (May)
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"A beautiful novel, rich, firm and moving-its writing is so fresh, its projection of character so immediate and full, its events so compelling and its understanding so compassionate, that to read the book is to share intimately, even to the point of catharsis, in the grave human experience treated." New York Times "The greatest novel to emerge out of the tragedy of South Africa and one of the best novels of our time" The New Republic --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Paton writes in a very colloquial language, which really gives you the feel of being in South Africa at the time. While I really enjoyed this, I know some people don't like books written in that style and with poor grammar. This book is amazing - and it still makes me think long after I have read it. I don't give many books 5 stars, but this one truly deserved it. This book is definitely a classic.
The very high level overview of the story: A native South African priest from a struggling rural village braves the white-dominated big city in search of his lost family. I suspect that much of the reason that the book has made its way into so many schools is that it exposes one to the issues of apartheid and bigotry of the region which, let's face it, as Americans we're not particularly well aware of. This is one of those forgotten but important bits of history that aren't really at the forefront of the American consciousness. It's well worth a perusal as a history lesson if nothing else.
From a reading and enjoyment standpoint the book does suffer a bit. I staggered through the first 70 pages over the course of several days and completely failed to hit my stride. The book is heavy in conversations so the use of the South African dialect can at times be unbalancing and distracting and characters are well developed but often hard to tell apart. At least some of this stems from my inability to engage with the book early on but I would argue that lack of engagement comes too from confusion of one character with another.
On balance, a great work but one that must be approached in a more scholarly manner. Certainly not one to be taken on the train with all manner of conversations going on around you as distraction. Sit a savor or save for a lazy Saturday afternoon and blow through in one long and savory trip.
The language is beautiful, I don't enjoy flowery descriptions of scenery, but in Cry the descriptions helped you feel as if you were there without being too lengthy. The characters are well developed, and some are people I would really love to know. However, because I did care about the characters, the story in the beginning, is just so sad that I almost fell into that catagory of unfortunate readers who quit reading early and miss out on the treasure. I'm grateful that I didn't.
Inspite of the difficult beginning, this has become one of my favorite books. It carries you from despair to hope. It is a story about South Africa and its people, but it is also a story that has something for each of us.
Cry, The Beloved County leaves you a better person when you put it down than when you started it. It is a journey not to be missed.
Most recent customer reviews
There are so few books out there that manage to blow you away with the story, yet maintain a high standard of writing, combining great storytelling with actual "literature. Read morePublished on March 22 2007 by Faulkner Man
Alan Paton writes eloquently about personal struggles, triumphs, and losses. Almost biblical, the lyrical dialogues and descriptions draw you into the reality that is South Africa... Read morePublished on Nov. 24 2006 by Handmade Christmas Cards
It is a blessing for a booklover to come across a story which is so deep like Cry the beloved country. The characters are dissected and made so real. Read morePublished on Jan. 26 2005
It is a blessing for a booklover to come across a story which is so deep like Cry the beloved country. The characters are dissected and made so real. Read morePublished on Jan. 25 2005
Alan Paton certainly had his heart in the right place but couldn't disguise his paternalistic feelings of the plight of the native South African, bringing down what was otherwise a... Read morePublished on July 6 2004 by James Ferguson
I sloughed through this book with much difficulty - as an avid reader, I read the book not as much for the story it told, but for the way it was told. Read morePublished on July 6 2004
There are so few books out there that manage to blow you away with the story, yet maintain a high standard of writing, combining great storytelling with actual "literature. Read morePublished on June 20 2004
I feel truly sorry for anyone who couldn't find the goodness in a book such as this. Stories of inspiration on this magnitude are few and far betweeen, and as if that weren't... Read morePublished on June 1 2004
Cry, the Beloved Country is an inspired, and inspiring, novel. This is the most memorable book I have ever read. Read morePublished on May 28 2004
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