JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools

pictures and stories from the water’s edge

JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools header image 2

Cry the Beloved Country

November 18th, 2004 · 3 Comments

A paperback copy of Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton has been at our home for years. Ted brought it into our marriage with him, a gift from a former girlfriend, yet neither one of us had read it. So I took it along on our roadtrip to LA.

I finished the story the last day we were driving home, somewhere in southern Oregon. After closing the book, I sat for a while, head in my hands, somewhere between Munsch and Rodin, between Screaming and Thinking. The story was written in three months of 1946, a story of suffering in South Africa, political, social, spiritual and lyrical in its beauty.

But there is only one thing that has power completely, and that is love. Because when a man loves, he seeks no power and therefore he has power. page 39

And money is not something to go mad about and throw your hat in the air for. Money is for food and clothes and comfort, and a visit to the pictures. Money is to make happy the lives of children. Money is for security and for dreams and for hopes and for purposes. Money is for buying the fruits of the earth and the land where you were born. page 172

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. page 226

Tags: books

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 annie // Nov 19, 2004 at 7:45 pm

    I’m so glad you read this! It’s my all-time favorite book ever. I read it as a fourteen year old, and I’ve cited it since then as a source of direction, guidance, and inspiration for much of my life. When John and I first knew we loved each other, he read the book to know me better.

    Another great book regarding the era and location, although nowhere near as powerful, is the Power of One. The book was made into a movie, which was ok, but its soundtrack was amazing.

  • 2 Mike Marden // Nov 20, 2004 at 9:12 am

    If I remember rightly, “Cry the Beloved Country” was also a movie starring James Earl Jones and Richard Harris. The movie followed the lives of a minister (Jones) who’s son killed the son of a land-owner (Harris). VERY strong and VERY moving.

  • 3 joann // Nov 20, 2004 at 10:29 pm

    I read this book recently too… last year, I think. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about it until Oprah introduced it.

    Fortunately, I decided to read her suggested book.

    It is a beautiful book with such power language, and a rhythym to it. A pulse, a beat.

    thanks for sharing.