Cry, the Beloved Country

  • by Alan Paton
  • Narrated by Michael York
  • 9 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This is the most distinguished novel that has come out of South Africa in the 20th century, and it is one of the most important novels that has appeared anywhere in modern times. Cry, the Beloved Country is in some ways a sad book; it is an indictment of a social system that drives native races into resentment and crime; it is a story of Fate, as inevitable, as relentless, as anything of Thomas Hardy's. Beautifully wrought with high poetic compassion, Cry, the Beloved Country is more than just a story, it is a profound experience of the human spirit. And beyond the intense and insoluble personal tragedy, it is the story of the beautiful and tragic land of South Africa, its landscape, its people, and its bitter racial ferment and unrest.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Two Words

How do you rate a classic novel of all time, that is well read, but the narrator gets the names wrong?

"Sophiatown" is NOT promounced SOfiah-town, but so-FIRE-town.

"Veld" is pronounced felt (as in heartfelt).

These words occur often throughout the novel, and every time they are used I wince. Do these audiobook publishers do NO RESEARCH at all? Is it really OK to mangle the Afrikaans quotes so badly that one has to burst out laughing? Is it OK to have a phony accent that makes a South African cringe? I have lived in Johannesburg all my life and I never heard anyone speaking like the white man from the reformatory.

So, Michael York's narration skill gets 5, but subtract 2 for bad research. The story gets 5+, and is worth listening to. It's a great novel. Unfortunately a lot of what Alan Paton wrote in 1948 is still applicable 60 years later. SA is now a democracy, and Apartheid is no longer law, but the crime in Johannesburg is still just as bad, and there are still squatter settlements and poor people being exploited.
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- Penny

A word painting: gripping, breathtaking & moving

The more things change the more it stays the same. I live in Johannesburg, I am a minister of religion, I am an Afrikaner and a Policeman. This book deeply moved me. Something resonates with my soul as I see so much of this pre-Apartheid world still alive in the Johannesburg of today. I am astonished that the places (suburbs, townships, shacks, even the Midlands of Kwa-Zulu Natal) as painted by Alan Paton are so easily recognised. It felt as if I walked into the book… a book that was banned by the then Apartheid government.

The story is gripping and lavishly beautiful. Paton sketches the contrasts of South Africa and the opinions of the different racial groups towards living together so accurate that the book has the feel of a documentary on the one hand, but driven by a deeply moving story arranged into three acts which can be summarised like this, act 1: the prodigal son goes to the forbidden place and his father goes in search of him act 2: what if the son wants to return, but he cannot because he is corrupted? ; act 3: a loss of innocence or an opportunity to renew.

I am stunned as how Paton draws you in, let you bleed emotionally with Mfundisi (Reverend) Stephen Khumalo and his ‘opposite,’ James Jarvis. I am amazed how love and understanding is born out of hate. Yet, Paton doesn’t give easy answers – even political answers – to a country deep in pain, but let you cry out with him, “Nkosi Sikeleli Afrika!” (God save Africa!). To say the least, this is heavy and like the chief of Ixopo I am not sure if we as South Africans have the answer yet. But miracles do happen in the same way that the darkest clouds bring the best rain.

This book comes greatly recommended. Everybody should listen or read it at least once in their life. It is also deeply religious and speaks to the soul. It is indeed heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time.

The British actor, Michael York reads this story with so much pathos; it feels like an act of love. He grips you and doesn’t let you go. I will therefore forgive him his terrible Zulu and Afrikaans pronunciations… completely.

If you don’t care to let the tears roll and be gay at the beauty of new and true human relationships, this book is for you!
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- Jacobus "When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-10-2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.