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Extended Audio Sample Cry, the Beloved Country Audiobook, 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: December 2009 ISBN: 9781455190065
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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.”

    AudioFile

  • “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.”

    Kliatt

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

Listener Opinions

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

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

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 KateLin | 1/22/2014

    " This book was a lot better than I expected. The first couple of chapters are not that great, but don't let that stop you - it does get better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cara Murphy | 1/21/2014

    " Very powerful account of racism in South Africa, written immediately before the introduction of Apartheid. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trevor | 1/20/2014

    " It made me sad to realize that I really liked a book that was chosen for the Oprah's Book Club. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deb Gaff | 1/8/2014

    " Listened to the book on tape. Micheal York narrated - great reading of a timeless classic! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nick | 1/6/2014

    " Gloriously written; the politics is almost an afterthought. Highly recommended. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Zack Paganini | 12/14/2013

    " I read this in my freshman english class. Our teacher was attending to her sick mother at the time so we had substitutes teaching us the book... and by "teach" I mean "giving us worksheets to fill out." Perhaps it was just the circumstances under which I read it, but I don't recall liking this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle Rowe | 11/27/2013

    " A beautifully written life changing story. It changed the way I think about the world, and the way people are treated. Makes me unbelievably thankful to have the life I've been given. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Phyllis Jennings | 10/25/2013

    " Read years ago, a lasting impression. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jon Greenhill | 10/7/2013

    " one of the best books I've ever read. A father's quest to find his lost son leads him on an improbable journey. the book is filled with tragedy and redemption. a worthwhile read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristina De La Torre | 9/27/2013

    " Not just factual, still personal. A little hard to get into at first. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dianna Tomlin | 6/29/2013

    " There is an almost lyrical quaility to the way this book reads. it is a beautiful but sad story. Definitely worth the read, but a slow starter and something you can put down and come back to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Benj FitzPatrick | 5/6/2013

    " One of my favorites describing South Africa and its metamorphosis during colonial years. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danny | 3/30/2013

    " Very profound book, good read. Took me a while to get thru it because I wanted/needed to ponder lots of things in it as I read, and needed to do Wiki searches on lots of background info about Africa to understand the context of the story. I absolutely recommend this very hopeful book to everyone. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bret | 9/25/2012

    " I know the message was good--but I just couldn't really get into it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim Westney | 6/27/2012

    " An almost poetic story of Africa. Though read many decades ago, it left a lasting impression. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 4/6/2012

    " The language is beautiful. The story is slow-paced and so well done. Everything about this book is just right. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ben | 1/15/2012

    " The prose is simple and beautiful. Cry, the Beloved Country is full of raw, understated emotion. Sad and mournful, hopeful and moving. Reminds me of Plainsong. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Aquene | 11/17/2011

    " I'm not going to deny that this book makes valid and poignant points about society and injustice, but my gracious is it a boring read. We had to read it for school, and I really did not enjoy it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julianne | 9/22/2011

    " This is the first book I actually read cover-to-cover as an assignment in AP Lit. To be honest, I have a terrible memory and can't remember much about the story. But I liked it enough to buy it. Now I need to reread it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joanna | 9/11/2011

    " Really good, although I try really hard not to read books this depressing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Manar | 6/20/2011

    " Novel as beautiful and impressive.

    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Isabella | 6/16/2011

    " A little dull but the message really hits home. It shed a lot of light on the historical accuracy in South Africa. There is a lot of patterns of family, friendship, ect. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shelly | 6/16/2011

    " I loved this book, it took me to Africa and had me living there while I was reading the book. It's was nice to know that others have national pride even though there country and circumstances aren't the best. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alexis | 6/9/2011

    " HATED reading this book. Apartheid is such a deep subject for a sophomore in HS to truly understand and process. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 6/9/2011

    " Set in 1940s in South Africa this is a good representation of the challenges of a society upended by change and how people even through tragedy can change their own outlooks and the policies of others for the greater good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chrisanne | 6/8/2011

    " This is one of my favorite books. The diction is moving and beautiful, and Paton's social commentary is subtle yet powerful. It's what first made me interested in social justice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robin | 6/6/2011

    " Loved this book. Beautifully written. Beautiful story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angie | 6/5/2011

    " Fantastic book, I learned so much about South Africa prior to Apartheid. The story was tragic and had alot of symbolism from the authors life. He delved into very deep issues of race, politics, religion and family. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robert | 6/3/2011

    " I remember reading this at SAS. I believe it was my V Form year, but I am not certain. I do not recall the story.

    I was reminded of this book just now from the FB feed of the school. Apparently, nearly 30 years later, it is the all-school reading selection this year. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anna | 6/2/2011

    " Now I know why I didn't finish it when I first tried to read it. So difficult to get through. "

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About the Author
Author Alan Paton

Alan Paton (1903–1988), South African novelist and humanitarian worker, was born in 1903 in Pietermaritzburg in the province of Natal, South Africa. After attending Pietermaritzburg College and Natal University, he taught school for three years in the rural village of Ixopo, the setting for Cry, the Beloved Country.

About the Narrator

Michael York is a successful screen and stage actor. Among his screen credits are Romeo and Juliet, Cabaret, The Three Musketeers, Logan’s Run, and Austin Powers. Stage appearances include Britain’s National Theatre and Broadway. His television work has garnered Emmy nominations and his audio recordings Grammy nominations, as well as five AudioFile Earphones Awards. He has been awarded Britain’s OBE, France’s Arts et Lettres, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.