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Extended Audio Sample Cry, the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (30,033 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Alan Paton Narrator: Michael York Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A worldwide bestseller when it was first published in 1948, Alan Paton’s impassioned novel about a black man’s country under white man’s law is a work of searing beauty.

Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of Stephen Kumalo, a Zulu pastor, and his son, Absalom. Set in the troubled and changing South Africa of the 1940s, it is also the story of a land and a people torn by racial injustice. The book is written with such keen compassion and understanding that the listener shares fully in the gravity of the characters’ situations.

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. Ultimately, Cry, the Beloved Country is a work of love and hope, courage and tragedy, born of the dignity of man.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A beautiful novel, rich, firm, and moving…its writing is so fresh, its projection of character so immediate and full, its events so compelling and its understanding so compassionate that to read the book is to share intimately, even to the point of catharsis, in the grave human experience treated.”

    New York Times


  • “One of the best novels of our time.”

    New Republic

  • “The marvelous British actor Michael York brings the white South Africans, with their idealism, their prejudices, and their own provinciality, vividly to life. His native African characters, perhaps inevitably, sound more Anglo than tribal, but it makes small difference. With the haunting, incantatory rhythms of its language and the human complexity of its story, this is a polished, elegant production of a true classic.”


  • “This great classic…still remains relevant today for providing understanding of how the mining business destroyed native families and the African tribal system—resulting in urban migration, poverty and crime still with us today. Despite many heartbreaking events, the story ends on a hopeful note. Actor York creates fully voiced characters—young, old, male and female—that enhance this important work and make it a spellbinding tale.”


  • “With a deep yet gentle voice rounded out by his English accent, Michael York captures the tone and energy of this novel. His rhythmic narration proves hypnotizing. From the fierce love of Kumalo to the persuasive rhetoric of Kumalo’s brother and the solemn regret of Absalom, York injects soul into characters tempered by their socioeconomic status as black South Africans.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • An Oprah’s Book Club Selection
  • An Audible.com Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Philip | 2/14/2014

    " Fantastic, life-changing story of black and white, rich and poor, city and village, justice and compassion in South Africa. Should have read this one years ago...Alan Paton's lyrical, simple weaving of the story stops one in the tracks of their busy life and compels one to think about some of life's deepest issues (Yes that sounds cliche, but it's true for this one!). This book encouraged me to more of a life of self-examination. Don't judge a person by their appearance, class, race, or region! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Carrie Anne | 2/10/2014

    " Beautiful. A piece of poetry, and mercy, and secrets, and wonderment. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Cristina | 1/29/2014

    " Captivating book with overarching Christian themes, focused on redemption and human dignity. Set in Apartheid South Africa from the perspective of a pastor. Poetically written, leaving lasting impressions about nature, imagery, and the inner feelings of characters. Many well-placed themes, like dark versus light. I remember specific descriptions in the book and it was 7 years ago that I read it! One of my favorite books from high school: I enjoyed it so much I read it twice within the assigned time. Will definitely read again! The book is just beautiful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Clare Cannon | 1/26/2014

    " If I could give this 6 stars I would... a magnificent, moving story with extraordinary depth and wisdom. "

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