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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best read in one long lazy Sunday
Ah yes, Cry, the Beloved Country. Fodder for high school reading lists for time immemorial... or at least since it was written. I won't blather on at great length about this one as it has been acclaimed and written about almost unto inanity but it is worth a few words.

The very high level overview of the story: A native South African priest from a struggling...
Published 4 months ago by Rob Slaven

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Can't relate
The main character of the story, Stephen Kumalo, is very well developed. Reading of his journey brought me to think of Kumalo as a real life character. What interested me most in the story was the strong influence of religion in life. One example would be Mr. Carmichael, who does an incredibly genorous deed in the name of god (I won't ruin the story). The story brings...
Published on Feb. 11 2002


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best read in one long lazy Sunday, Dec 14 2013
By 
Rob Slaven "slavenrm@gmail. com" (Zionsville, IN) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Ah yes, Cry, the Beloved Country. Fodder for high school reading lists for time immemorial... or at least since it was written. I won't blather on at great length about this one as it has been acclaimed and written about almost unto inanity but it is worth a few words.

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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping story, 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. The plot is awesome and the pace of the story is fast moving. Plotted in the depth of Apartheid South Africa, this story brought out the lamentation of a soul of a nation, a lamentation that is felt by all the different ethnic and racial groups involved. I watched the movie on the story "Amok" and it gave the full visual presentation of the story. I will recommend this book to all booklovers with a curious mind about an era, a people and a nation that stared at disaster straight in the eyes and chose the option of peace.
Also recommended: Disciples of Fortune,Animal farm
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5.0 out of 5 stars A heartbreaking story of redemption and forgiveness, July 29 2003
By 
Peggy Vincent "author and reader" (Oakland, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Tragic story set in South Africa during a now-ended era. Cry the Beloved Country is worth a careful read for its many-layered messages of loss and faith, of murder and penitence, of guilt and redemption - and through it all is Rev. Kumalo's love for his people (and not just his, but for the inherent goodness in ALL people), his family, his church - and most of all, his country.
It's a classic that has already withstood the test of time - and will doubtless continue to do so.
Don't miss it, and share it with someone else.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, June 13 2002
By 
This book is one of the most incredible I have ever read. Many people rave about its depiction of apartheid and racism in South Africa, but it's so much more than that. This novel is a beautifully told story of one man's struggle against fate and a system set against him, of human compassion, and of renewal on a multitude of levels- the renewal of the physical earth, the lives of the people of Ndotsheni, and Kumalo's soul. The frailty and confusion felt by Kumalo, the anger at society of the young white social worker, the fear of young Kumalo, and the passion of Msimangu are all set beautifully against a vivid depiction of a racially divided South Africa in which the Africans themselves have no hope. Paton's style is perfect. His characters on occasion are a bit simple, but they are so vividly described that it seems that if there is a problem, it lies with you the reader! The settings are beautiful, and Paton's love of South Africa and thirst for equality run throughout the novel. Everyone should read this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With all the touching of Humanity, Dec 3 2000
By A Customer
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A seriously great book!, May 28 2004
Although I was apprehensive about reading an Oprah Book Club book (I am a male in my mid-twenties and don't usually like the same books as females my age or older), I heard a lot of really good things about it and decided to read it. I am very glad that I did. Although it takes place during apartheid South Africa, that is not the only theme in the book. It also deals with major political topics like poverty and crime as well as personal topics like grief, shame, and charity. In the end you are left reflecting on how you would deal with grief, and what is social justice.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From despair to hope, a journey not to be missed., June 23 2004
Have you ever set up dominoes on their end all in a line, then once they are all set up you touch the first one and it sets off a cascade effect knocking them all over one at a time? The beginning of the game is slow and tedious, but the cascade effect is worth it. Some classics are like setting up dominoes. They begin slowly, and the unfortunate reader will put the book down in disgust and never return to it. A more persistent reader is richly rewarded for their patience. Cry, The Beloved Country is that kind of a classic, others are Tale of Two Cities, Dickens and Jane Eyre, Bronte.
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.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving story, Jan. 25 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. The plot is awesome and the pace of the story is fast moving. Plotted in the depth of Apartheid South Africa, this story brought out the lamentation of a soul of a nation, a lamentation that is felt by all the different ethnic and racial groups involved. I watched the movie on the story "Amok" and it gave the full visual presentation of the story. I will recommend this book to all booklovers with a curious mind about an era, a people and a nation that stared at disaster straight in the eyes and chose the option of peace.
I recommend DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE
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5.0 out of 5 stars I be-LOVED this book, June 20 2004
By A Customer
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." McCrae's BARK OF THE DOGWOOD or Styron's SOPHIE'S CHOICE comes to mind, and those two, along with CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY are the only three I can think of off the top of my head. By far, CRY is my favorite of these three, and the most moving. Not to take anything away from the others, but CRY has a depth and feeling like no other novel I know of.
I'm not usually one for an Oprah pick, having avoided the list since I felt she had some lapses in judgment, but CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY is a sure fire hit and not to be missed.
Note: There have been several movies made of this, and the 1995 one is probably the best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars How could anyone NOT like this book?, June 1 2004
By A Customer
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 enought, the excellent writing is beyond most other "bestsellers" out there. If I had to choose one Oprah pick that made my head spin, this was it. Would also recommend "Bark of the Dogwood" and "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter."
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Cry, the Beloved Country: A Story of Comfort in Desolation
Cry, the Beloved Country: A Story of Comfort in Desolation by Alan Paton (Paperback - Dec 4 2002)
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