From now until January 31, participate in our Fall Into Winter Reading challenge and enter to win one of our grand prize drawings. Grab a Bingo card from your local branch or download one. There are four different cards, one for each age group including early literacy, children, teens and adults with categories that will push you out of your reading comfort zone. Whether you’re attempting to get Bingo across, vertically or diagonally — my favorite book should be able to help.
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton is a poignant and powerful novel that follows the journey of two fathers, their lost sons and the country they love. Their homeland, South Africa, is on the brink of apartheid and the earth beneath their feet, which the villagers depend on for their livelihood, is drying up. Meanwhile, Paton’s protagonist Stephen Kumalo must travel into a city where the technology and customs baffle him in order to search for his son. This exploration leads him to cross paths with the wealthy Mr. Jarvis, who lives on top of the hill overlooking Kumalo’s village and who has lost a son of his own.
The novel explores friendship, loss, grief, power, love, industrialization, technology, race relations, forgiveness and redemption. It’s Paton’s ode to the wonders and allures of South Africa has to offer — his charge to fellow countrymen to seek love and understanding. The work is full of compelling characters and details a rare portrait of the comfort friendship can provide in the midst of trials.
When we look at the suffering in our lives — and the world — we might wonder along with Kumalo, “Who indeed knows the secret of the earthly pilgrimage? Who knows for what we live and struggle and die? Who knows what keeps us living and struggling, while all things break about us? Who knows why the warm flesh of a child is such comfort, when one’s own child is lost and cannot be recovered … pain and suffering, they are a secret. Kindness and love, they are a secret. But I have learned that kindness and love can pay for pain and suffering.”
Furthermore, Cry, the Beloved Country is:
And as of right now, it’s also:
Check out a print, audiobook or Playaway copy from your local branch today or download it from Hoopla or Libby/ Overdrive. When you’re finished reading, you can also watch the 1995 film adaptation, starring James Earl Jones and Richard Harris.