A Sister’s Recommendation

When our resources—time, money, energy—are sparse, word of mouth recommendations between trusted sisters or friends mean the most to us. My time is precious; when I read, I want books with passion. I want stories that make me think and ponder and ask “why” and “how.”  This process motivates me to live and be better myself. I asked my sister, Camille, for a recommendation for such a book. Here’s what she said:

When I was teaching school several years ago one of my fellow teachers and dear friend recommended her favorite book, Cry the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton.  My husband gave it to me as a gift knowing that I wanted to read it.  I’m not sure what I was expecting, but  I was surprised by the poetry and inspiration I found in this story that gives a glimpse into South Africa’s history.   Cry the Beloved Country is the story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom set in 1946 in Johannesburg in a land of racial injustice.  In the introduction Edward Callan tells us that Alan Paton said he wrote the book as a “cry against the injustice in South Africa” and a “yearning for justice.”  Paton described his book as “a song of love for one’s far distant country,” and “a story of the beauty and terror of human life.”  For just a taste of the poetry here is an excerpt, a passage that gave the book its title.

Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply.  Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire.  Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley.  For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.

Alan Paton, Cry the Beloved Country

Camille and I and a couple of our friends are going to read Cry The Beloved Country in March. And Camille will share a review as a guest post on March 30. Join us if you like.


  1. Minna Dyer
    Mar 4, 2009

    Was there a movie about this story made years ago? It seems very familiar.
    I’ll have to read it, after the three books that are on my nightstand 🙂

  2. Camille
    Mar 4, 2009

    I haven’t heard about a movie. I hope you enjoy the book.

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