Ah But Your Land Is Beautiful (Vintage Classics)

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Feb 20, Jennifer Wood rated it it was amazing. I highly recommend this book, though, to those who would like to understand a little better the political and cultural climate of apartheid South Africa. My favorite part of Paton's writing is his ability to craft stories of real, small-scale reconciliation in the midst of stubborn, large-scale injustice. I also appreciate that when his characters use their privilege to help the unprivileged, their acts of love and self-sacrifice never sprout from "white guilt" or a pressure from society to engage in "virtue-signaling," but rather from quiet humble hearts that recognize the dignity of their fellow man and risk whatever it takes to honor that dignity.

These small stories give me hope and vision to care for my brothers and sisters in the midst of an unjust system, and to accept their care for me. This book is written in a kaleidoscopic, post modernist style whereby the story is told by various accounts that rotate around the events. It is told by different voices in a variety of formats; dialogues, private letters, press releases, newspaper reports and so on, where some characters were real life people and others are entirely fictional.

Likewise, some events are historically accurate whilst others are not. It's a slightly challenging format that requires some attention in order to see th This book is written in a kaleidoscopic, post modernist style whereby the story is told by various accounts that rotate around the events.

It's a slightly challenging format that requires some attention in order to see the wood for the trees. I had to backtrack in order to orientate myself amongst those trees and see the big picture but, it's the trees that the story's stories are all about. It is set in 's South Africa where 'apartheid' is starting to become more militantly enforced and civil disobedience and protest are beginning to gain momentum; a self perpetuating, mutually assured cycle. The story is ostensibly about the repercussions of an opressive system on the lives of it's people and, as with Mr Paton's other books, it's in the details of his characters lives that the story is played out and true changes take place; some people change allegiances, some shy away from the fight and still others become more entrenched.

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Yet, people of all sides are so affected by coming into contact with 'the other' or the reality of their suffering, that they are inspired to act out of defiance, deeper compassion or humanity, and simple, everyday acts sometimes become heroic within their context. A good book that only occasionally hits the same tones and tenderness of 'Cry, The Beloved Country' Sep 06, Cindy rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: A brilliant book by the writer of 'Cry, the Beloved Country.

There's the "Proud Christian Woman" who writes nasty letters to anyone she disapproves of. There's the Afrikaner civil servant who stick to the party line as long as possible. There's the Indian family whose daughter is making a stand against discrimination which will certainly end A brilliant book by the writer of 'Cry, the Beloved Country. There's the Indian family whose daughter is making a stand against discrimination which will certainly end in violence.

I knew almost nothing about South African history before I read this book, but I found myself swept up in the story and the emotion. Compelling storytelling and a heartbreaking setting make this one of my top reads for the year. It took me a really long time to finish this book. Parts of it were dry like a history book, and lacking the background that a history book would provide.

So there were some pages I read without understanding a thing. Then why did I bother finishing it? Well, I actually learned a lot about apartheid and South Africa. I read "Cry, the Beloved Country" in high school, so either I've forgotten what I learned then or 20 years of life experience have changed how I interpret what I learned.

In any case It took me a really long time to finish this book. In any case, it was a book worth reading. Written as a novel told from many perspectives, it does provide much insight. Unfortunately it took me a while to follow which character was which. I was particularly drawn to the story line of Prem Bodasingh, an Indian girl who participates in the Defiance Campaign by sitting in a white library. Even her parents, Mr. Bodasingh, were characters I wished I had gotten to know better.

I might have enjoyed it more had the novel been their story. I was interested to discover how the idea of apartheid was sold as a positive thing. It was as much a gift to black people as it was to white, and white Christians should help black Christians to treasure it. Oct 27, Fergie rated it liked it.

Alan Paton as Ursula Hegi is in the present day was a master of historical fiction. He wrote with a depth and honest truth that is worthy of our attention. With the same adept skills he used in his other novels, Paton teaches us about his South Africa With a forthrightness to be admired, the courage in which he educates us through the words and actions of his characters is both appealing and compelling. Paton reminds us that human nature, at its co Alan Paton as Ursula Hegi is in the present day was a master of historical fiction.

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Paton reminds us that human nature, at its core, is flawed But his books, despite these truths, offer glimmers of hope in the redemptive qualities of some of his characters. They also bravely share the hypocrisy that often reigns in the human condition through his more unlikable characters. Alan Paton's gift was in weaving history in compelling storytelling, beautifully inspiring his readers to consider the depths and complexities of the human spirit. In having us consider his South Africa, he has us consider the world.

The American South can draw many parallels to the apartheid of this African nation. It compels the reader to contemplate the world through the eyes of both likable and disagreeable characters and for this it retains a sense of a well balanced read, deserving of one's time.


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Jan 20, Beth rated it liked it. This fleshes out detail from the politics and policies that took place behind the scenes leading up to the turning moments when violence erupted against apartheid.

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They are detailed in snippets and ongoing pages often without paragraphs, strongly making one see the constant effort and hurt that it took as both blacks and whites eventually erupted. I have been to the Apartheid Museum and the Hector Pieterson Soweto Uprising Memorial twice, and once to Lilliesleaf Farm where Nelson Mandela hi This fleshes out detail from the politics and policies that took place behind the scenes leading up to the turning moments when violence erupted against apartheid. This book makes one feel the history. But I couldn't take every dose of it. I had to skip batches of pages in order to endure.

Additionally, often I could not tell whose voice I was reading unless I spent time figuring it out- the question was: Is this a black or a white voice. An important a story! Mar 03, Albert rated it it was amazing Shelves: The cost of oppression, the tyranny of the mighty few, and the war cries of the oppressed majority: These are things that try our souls, and each of these shines true in this book. Even though it speaks of a time that has passed, even if the nation that survived those tumultuous times moves forwards towards the future, this book contains the stories and agonies of human lives, and that agony, that torment, those tortures ring true today.

Ah, But Your Land Is Beautiful by Alan Paton

The novel may 'bounce around' with a in this reviewer's i The cost of oppression, the tyranny of the mighty few, and the war cries of the oppressed majority: The novel may 'bounce around' with a in this reviewer's impression cast of characters with many stories that happen to intertwine, but that only makes the novel even more poignant in its portrayal of the many faces in South African life under Apartheid. Apr 15, Sean de la Rosa rated it it was ok. Paton's gracing words and style fill the pages of this book. It is a good reminder of how South Africa was in the 's.

Maybe that is also its biggest criticism: There were a couple of intimate chapters where the problems of the characters take on real meaning and importance for the reader - Paton should have focused on this much more I think. Jan 06, Abrya rated it it was amazing. I definitely recommend it.

Ah, But Your Land Is Beautiful

One person found this helpful. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Covering the years before and after the Nationalists came to power in South Africa. Alan Paton, a brilliant writer is also the author of "Cry, the beloved country. As others mentioned, this book is confusing, and after a while, I forgot about who was speaking and let it dawn on me.

Reading other reviews, I now guess that he wanted readers to be confused and to hear the viewpoints and react to them before we know who made them Either way, I loved this book. It has truly taught me something that I had thought about for decades Paton's message to me is that if we are hurt and threatened, we then lash out at someone else to express our pain.

I won't share any more because it's a review of the book, not an essay. His writing style is amazing to me If I could emulate this writing style successfully, I would become a writer just to do it. Although I am still a little confused, I love this book, and it has fundamentally altered my understanding of human nature One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful. It's been almost 30 years since I read Cry, the Beloved Country and I'd forgotten how strangely Paton structures his books.

This novel gives us some excellent insights on how sick a society South Africa was in the 's. However it's an extremely difficult read; shifting between past and present tense, dialogs were the author doesn't explain which characters are speaking, a great many references that are unclear to readers who know little about South Africa.

Ah But Your Land Is Beautiful

Another reviewer called the novel "docu-fiction". That's exactly what it is. It has no protagonists. We learn very little about who these characters are and have trouble caring about them, aside from the grief inflicted on them by hateful Afrikaners. This was Paton's last novel. He was pushing 80 when he wrote it. He still had plenty to say. His ideosyncratic story telling detracts from the message.

A Kid's Review 5. While you can't always tell which character is speaking, I find that that is good because it shows the complexity of views in South Africa in the s. When you start reading a new section, you don't think, "Oh, that's just what Hugh Mainwaring thinks.

Especially in this day and age, I think that this book helps a little to get in to the mind of terrorists today, even though the issues at stake are markedly different. I would recommend this to everyone, especially those who enjoy history. It is a must for anyone who was captivated by "Cry, the Beloved Country," and in my opinion is his best work.

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