Cry, the Beloved Country – Alan Paton

Cry, the Beloved Country was published in 1948. I think its a classic.

Cry, the Beloved Country is a novel of South Africa (not to be confused with Cry Freedom). I think it is one of the best portraits of apartheid that there is; it is incredibly real. Interestingly it was published the same year apartheid came into law. The characters feels uncomfortably realistic – blunt, plain, ordinary. Lives are torn apart. It is sad – how could it be otherwise? – but it is not without hope. There is so much compassion for humanity in the writing. I find the  book incredibly evocative and moving. 

I’m not going to go on very long because I’ve realized that it’s been long enough that I don’t remember the story clearly. But I still clearly remember what I felt when I read it.

“Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him no loved the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, not stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire…. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.” 

 

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