Customer Reviews for

Cry, the Beloved Country

Average Rating 4
( 127 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(60)

4 Star

(35)

3 Star

(17)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(9)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 3
  • Posted April 24, 2011

    Painful and Powerful

    This strange, lyrical novel is easily the most agonizing painful books I've ever read. Murder is perhaps the most overdone topic in the history of literature, but if all were done like this, we couldn't bear to read many. Published months before white supremacists created the legal system of apartheid (and set two years earlier, in the fall of 1946), the novel follows the fathers of an accidental killer and his unintended victim, starting before the murder and ending only after we get a sense of its ripple effects through the lives of whites and blacks as they try to make sense of the utterly pointless tragedy and the social system that led to it. It's a novel that does little to try to flashily seduce the reader. It starts out with a description of a rural valley in South Africa, a description that is repeated later with some key differences. Then it moves dialogue that almost sounds off-key: there are no quotation marks, only dashes, to indicate speakers and the characters have an odd repetitious quality to their speech that puzzles at first. At the risk of only a little hyperbole, it sounds like this: -- The sky is blue. -- You say the sky is blue. His eyes flickered upward. -- I say the sky is blue. -- I understand. The man nodded. -- You understand. My initial reaction to this was, "Oh man, did I pay for this?" But then as the matters grow more serious, I learned to appreciate that such dialogue has a somber rhythm, if not beauty, to it. It is not so much repetition as characters recognizing each other's humanity. And that is what makes this book so painful. Paton at every key moment goes for the perfectly understated emotion. The father of the murder victim does nothing histrionic -- there's simply this powerful scene in which he looks around his son's library, which is filled with passionate political books that mean nothing to him. He's forced to simultaneously confront the gulf that had arisen between himself and his son -- this sense that his own offspring is a mystery -- and also the grievous sense of loss in the quiet room (with the blood stain down the hallway). Scenes like this hurt. Toward the end, there's a stretch of maybe thirty or forty pages in which the characters briefly become symbols and Paton seems to be letting whites off easy in their greater complicity. But Paton himself seems aware of this, as he has a character that I was starting to find unrealistic deny that he is a saint and another character points out how much of the blame rests with the sins against humanity of the whites. What to make of these possible missteps by Paton and his own attempt to ameliorate them become a moot point by the powerful final scene. It's simply a man watching the sunrise. Yet, because of what it means when the sun rises above the horizon, I think that scene will stay with me far longer than the last couple pages of any other novel I've ever read. I am, I'm sure, reading this at a time when I'm particularly susceptible to its sentiments. After months of worrying about whether my infant son, who has just seemed like a bundle of vulnerability, I am watching him grow past the initial troubles that can beset a baby. He is starting to show a personality and I can begin to wonder what the future will hold in store for him. And this novel combines what are probably the two worst fates your child could experience: to murder or to be murdered. To me this is much more of a horror novel than some junk abou

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2013

    Don't listen to the dim witts

    This book is great, and if you rated the book one star on the complaint that the first chapter is about grass, you are idiotic. The meaning of the first chapter is much greater than just grass, and if you were reading the book and it was at your reading level, you would understand! Everyone should read this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 30, 2009

    It was as good if not better than the first reading.

    I read an earlier edition many years ago and loved it. Last year, I visited South Africa for the first time and then this year ran into a long time colleague who has devoted his last professional years in building bridges between US and South Africa higher educational institutions. So, I picked up the latest edition of Cry, The Beloved Country. Somehow, I got more out of it this time. Maybe, it's because I can imagine the narrative better, having been to South Africa and relate better to the story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 3, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    With Nelson Mandela gone, this is a must-read for us all now.

    This book is a heartacher. It was written in 1948, but its topic is still happening now both in South Africa and the U.S. Fathers lose their sons and find compassion, forgiveness and acceptence in the midst of terrible tragedy. This is not light reading by any means - I was sobbing afterwards and stunned for days even though I had read it 45 years ago. It didn't affect me then like it has now since the loss of Nelson Mandela. I didn't even know who he was back then.
    Please read it. It's a deeply moving classic with a timeless story.

    Mandela's family has asked us to hold onto one word in his memory -- Forgiveness.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2013

    Highly recommended

    Still important. Still moving.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2013

    I chose ¿Cry, The Beloved Country¿ for review.  Alan Paton, a n

    I chose “Cry, The Beloved Country” for review.  Alan Paton, a native of South Africa, illustrates his outcry for the injustices in 1946 South Africa as well as his yearning for justice in this novel.  The book follows a pastor from the small town of Ixopo.  Reverend Steven Kumalo receives a letter about his sister’s well-being and embarks on a journey to find her.  A majority of the story takes place in Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZuluNatal.  In his search for his sister, Gertrude, Kumalo also embarks on a journey for his son Absalom.  The exposition to the each encounter is lengthy and I would like to avoid a summary of the book and gear the review as an opinion. 
    Throughout his journey, Kumalo experiences the trials of his people from his poor small town to the industrial revolutionized capital.  “Cry, The Beloved Country” brings to life the struggle that still plagues South Africa, a land considered free due to the innovations and technology that have been brought from the Europeans.  However, the reader sees that as the book progresses, the initial facade of oppression is minute compared to the deeper message.  
    Although greeted with hospitality by a fellow layperson, Msimangu and Father Vincent, Kumalo is introduced to the cruel and subliminal oppression that Europeans have brought.  Kumalo sees his fellow tribesmen pushed to the outskirts of town, living in scraps(huts), held together by tape.  He witnesses the corruption through power to his people.  Along his journey, Kumalo learns that his sister, Gertrude, has become a prostitute, for the love of money, and although he tries to bring her to salvation; she cannot break her habits and abandons Kumalo with her newborn child.  To place a heavier burden on Kumalo, his son has been convicted of a murder, a crime committed out of fear and under the influence of his peers.
    To complicate the story more, Kumalo encounters his brother, John. Once a young man after the faith of God, much like Kumalo, John has been skewed in his mission to liberate their people.  John uses his commanding tone, unlike the humble Kumalo, to inspire their people almost to the point of revolution.  Here, the separation of paths is seen and a moral conflict of leadership is opened.  Kumalo wishes to lead his people to salvation through education with the coming change of industrial revolution; John wishing to stir the people to revolt against the oppression.  
    Kumalo, an old man living beyond his time, is forced to deal with the pain of changing times.  He sees and feels that with the coming of the new age also comes a a heavier burden of his people, a beautiful tribe, to acclimate and overcome the prejudices that were set on them by the Europeans.  Broken in age, but not in spirit, Kumalo is put to the ultimate test to live through his son's execution and raise Absalom's son and young wife. 
    I won't use the word captivating to describe this literature because I see it everywhere.  But I strongly recommend this book.  “Cry, The Beloved Country” has made me look deeper into the struggle of the African nation and the struggle of people as a whole to live in unison.  To see the corruption around us that is not so apparent but surrounds us everyday.  Truly gripping and I hope you get a chance to read it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 17, 2013

    Magnificent.

    Magnificent.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    Cry, The Beloved Country

    An amazing novel about a black preist from the valley of Ndostheni who goes to Johannesburg to find his brother ,his sister and her child, and his only son. In Johannesburg he finds out what type of things happen there and he finds out what his family has done. In the novel the preist stephen kumalo is trying to fix the land and reunite the tribe of Ndostheni. I highly recommened this book to anyone who wants to hear a great story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2011

    Wonderful book/messed up tech issues

    Great story, but midway thru the whole has chunks of repeated text.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Loved this book - very spiritual and timeless story. Good suggestion for a book club.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 31, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Renewed My Love for Reading

    I first read this book in high school and it renewed my love for reading. I felt like I was a part of the story and the characters' lives. It is a beautiful and emotional book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 13, 2010

    Insightful Read!

    There may be more recent books that cover the subject of the class distinctions in South Africa, but this book offers an insightful, first-hand look at apartheid from someone who was in a position to actually tell the rest of the world what it was like in South Africa during the 1940s. He doesn't just reflect on the subject; rather, he lets his readers participate through the written page as it is happening to his characters. The first 1/2 of the book may seem slow, yet, it is insightful. The last half is worth the wait with much to think and talk about! It was interesting yet distressing to see how good, really good people, could see the vicious cycle of inequality and injustice, yet not be able to change their society. One of his most valuable messages to me was "One person may not be able to change all of society, yet he can practice the values that he upholds and be a shining example to others who perhaps will see a better way of living there own lives.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 1, 2010

    Worth the effort..

    I read this book as part of a book club. At first, I didn't enjoy it at all...the "unique" writing style threw me and really was a distraction rather than an enhancement to the story. However, once I got just a little into it, I realized that he, the author, was actually writing in the manner that the characters who live in South Africa would actually speak. The plot really opened my eyes to the social implications of many policies and traditions...and not just in South Africa but you could translate this into basically any country. You really get into the story and empathize with the characters.
    I'd DEFINITELY recommend this to anyone to read...most beautifully written! Almost poetic...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book

    It is truly a great book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Eye-opening, moving

    This book was an eye-opener for me simply because I never knew or understood the racial prejudices that occurred in South Africa. This book takes you into the middle of all of that through the eyes of an old, Zulu pastor just trying to find his lost child.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2008

    Deeply Soulful

    Alan Paton does a magnificent job creating a South Africa right in fron of you. He has a very poetic style of writing that echoes in the soul even after you've finished the book. Paton makes us all feel as if it was us trekking the streets of Johannesburg.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2007

    A Brief Outlook On `Cry,The beloved Country`.

    This book takes place in Ndotsheni and Johannesburg, South Africa.So basically Stephen Kunalo struggles against white oppression and conflicts that detrsoy their cities life and destroy's his country,including his family.Kumalo saw a newspaper article that had a section about a white man that had been murdered by some south afriacns during a break-in and has a feeling that Absalom was invloved,so Absalom is arrested for murdering Arthur Jarvis,who helped kumalo make the village a better environment, and is sentenced to death which indecated him being hung.Some themes for this story could be separation and joining together.Separtion because families were torn apart and joining together because some characters in the story grew closer to others because of certain situations that occured.You could say that anger and repentance definatly had a major part in this book.So over all this was an interesting book because it isn't something that i would normally choose to read but it was a entertaining book also.I enjoyed it for the most part.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2007

    My favorite book, by far

    I have always loved this book and have read it many times. Paton's imagery is beautiful, as he ties his descriptions of the land to the state of South African society. I love his Biblical allusions to David and Absalom, and despite the tragic nature of the story you are left with a sense of hope - the hope of what love and fogiveness can overcome. This is definitely a classic that everyone should read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2007

    Beautiful

    Cry, the Beloved Country is truly a piece of art. One does not necessarily have to be familiar with the history of South Africa to enjoy this book, and potential readers should take note that it requires a great deal of time and analysis to read it properly. Paton demonstrates how no person or family is immune to the evils of others, and the consequences of everything are far-reaching.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2007

    Had no idea

    I read this having no idea that it was an Oprah book club pick, not that that would have influenced my decision even so. But, that said, this it one heck of a great novel. It was made into a movie, I think, maybe twice. Great plot about South Africa and race relations--how people, especially one man changes. It's amazing how everyone comes together in the end.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 3