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Synopsis: A work of searing beauty, Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of Stephen Kumalo, a Zulu pastor, and his son, Absalom. It is also the story of a land and a people riven by racial injustice, reflecting the troubled and changing South Africa of the 1940s. The book is written with such keen compassion and understanding that the listener shares fully in the gravity of the characters’ situations. Alan Paton said of his book: “It is a song of love for one’s far distant country....” Thus, it is a tale that is passionately African while also being timeless and universal. But ultimately, Cry, the Beloved Country is a work of love and hope, of courage and tragedy, born of the dignity of man.
About the Author:
Alan Paton, a native son of South Africa, was born in Pietermaritzburg, in the province of Natal, in 1903. While his mother was a third-generation South African, his father was a Scots Presbyterian who arrived in South Africa just before the Boer War.
Alan Paton attended college in Pietermaritzburg where he studied science and wrote poetry in his off-hours. After graduating, he wrote two novels and then promptly destroyed them. He devoted himself to writing poetry once again, and later, in his middle years, he wrote serious essays for liberal South African magazines, much the same way his character, Arthur Jarvis, does in Cry, the Beloved Country.
Paton's initial career was spent teaching in schools for the sons of rich, white South Africans, But at thirty, when he was teaching in Pietermaritzburg, he suffered a severe attack of enteric fever, and in the time he had to reflect upon his life, he decided that he did not want to spend his life teaching the sons of the rich.
Paton was a great admirer of Hofmeyr, a man who dared to tell his fellow Afrikaners that they must give up "thinking with the blood," and "maintain the essential value of human personality as something independent of race or color." Paton wrote to Hofmeyr and asked him for a job. To his surprise, he was offered a job as principal of Diepkloof Reformatory, a huge prison school for delinquent black boys, on the edge of Johannesburg. It was a penitentiary, with barbed wire and barred cells, and under Hofmeyr's inspiring leadership, Paton transformed it. Geraniums replaced the barbed wire, the bars were torn down, and soon the feeling in the place changed.
He worked at Diepkloof for ten years, and though it was certainly a fertile period, at the end of it Paton felt so strongly that he needed a change, that he sold his life insurance policies to finance a prison-study trip that took him to Scandinavia, England, and the United States. It was during this time that he unexpectedly wrote his first published novel, Cry, the Beloved Country. It was in Norway that he began it, after a friendly stranger had taken him to see the rose window in the cathedral of Trondheim by torchlight, Paton, no doubt inspired, sat down in his hotel room and wrote the whole first chapter. He had no idea what the rest of the story would be, but it formed itself while he traveled. Parts were written in Stockholm, Trondheim, Oslo, London, and the United States. It was finished in San Francisco. Cry, the Beloved Country was first published in 1948 by Charles Scribner's Sons. It stands as the single most important novel in South African literature.
Alan Paton died in 1988 in South Africa.
Title: Cry, the Beloved Country [UNABRIDGED]
Book Condition: Good
Book Description Blackstone Audiobooks, 2003. Audio CD. Book Condition: Good. Unabridged. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. May not contain Access Codes or Supplements. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Bookseller Inventory # 0786188987