Book Number Four: Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
(First published by Jonathan Cape in 1948)
This book is subtitled: A story of comfort in desolation. Perhaps I need say no more. It is a wonderful novel that reads almost as the most poignant documentary – the story of a Zulu parson’s search for his son in a Johannesburg immersed in the racial problems of South Africa at that time.
There is a sense of inevitability about where the search will lead. The landscapes are beautifully described – realized as places carrying the emotion of the people and burdens of the country and its history – and it feels like a eulogy to this ‘beloved country’ as well as to what the love of a father can overcome. So achingly sad. Get the tissues ready.