“Beautifully written but drags at times. A historical novel that gives a more clear picture of apartheid and South Africa. Also a heart breaking story of an aging father (a pastor) and his search for his son who left home with no forwarding address, to go to Johannesburg. The African names were quite confusing at times. This is one of the books where I should have written down each character as he/she was introduced.”Marcia wrote this review Monday, June 11, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I actually wonder where Gertrude went. I think it was implied that Stephen Kumalo thought she went back to the live she lead before he came, but I somehow think she'd become a nun. Am I too optimistic here?
I grieve for Stephen and his wive, and for the fate of their son. I was actually hoping that his life will be spared. It seemed too real, that the person 'killed' in the ordeal would be the person who was actually trying to help those same people to get a better life. It is SOOO!!! typical, really, I wasn't even surprised there.
I cannot describe how good it felt when Mr. Jarvis changed to the better and began helping out his less fortunate neighbors. I think he might have been commemorating his son's live in such a way, maybe it even allowed him to deal easier with his death. And there was, of course, his grandson, a very smart and passionate boy...”
“The writing was superb, and the story was important, but it just didn't grab me. ”Mandy wrote this review Friday, June 1, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“not a happy ending. Or is it? The people who did not make bad choices -- are still making good ones. They are still looking to the future optimistically.
Two fathers. And they both lose a son. Which is sadder? The one whose son was killed -- or the one whose son chose to kill? In real life, rarely is a parent's grief over a grown child's bad choices acknowledged. Unfortunately, people will often assume that a child who grows up to murder someone -- obviously had bad parents, so those parents deserve no pity, and why would they grieve? They never cared enough to raise the child right? I have wondered why that happens. Even people who have known those parents forever -- have watched them raise that child -- simply blame them for the outcome and offer absolutely no respect or comfort for their loss. They whisper and point and accuse right to their faces -- " What did you expect with parents like you?"
I know why it happens. It is fear. Fear that a normal parent, who loves their child, who has made mistakes but done the best they can could raise a murderer. Because if that is possible -- then it might happen to them. And that cannot be possible. It has to be the parent's fault. They had to be bad parents, and if they were bad parents they do not deserve any consideration. And what they are experiencing will not be called grief by the parents around them. It will not be acknowledged that they have a right to grieve. No -- if they cry it will be met with derision.
Thank you Alan Paton for telling the truth.
and thank you, Mr. Paton for James Jarves and Stephen Kumalo -- the two fathers who do not allow grief or guilt to drive them apart. But they use it to find ways to come closer to one another -- in a land and time when they are not even supposed to. It is what men who accept responsibility for their OWN actions -- and do not assume responsibility for anyone else's , even their own sons, are able to do. Men who are able to look at one another and see each other's pain with sympathy -- not resenting it, misnaming it blame, -- while feeling their own. A rare thing indeed.”
“A story of Africa - southern Africa, to be exact - that is sad and beautiful all at the same time. Paton tells of the erosion of the old ways and its inevitable tragic impact on the land and the youth of Africa. In a land ruled by the white man, the indigenous people are treated as lesser citizens in their own country. Driven by poverty and the slow death of the land, the young are driven to lives of crime to the despair of the older generation who long for the old days. But compassion and love prevail among both races as two men whose lives are tragically linked by their sons work to rebuild the land. Beautifully written, this is a poignant story of a beautiful land and its people.”Jerseygirl / Dame Constance (Oodles) Oxford-Whapdoodle, D.C., B.C., D.C.A. wrote this review Monday, April 30, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Read it at school - think I should read it again soon.”Kris Graham wrote this review Wednesday, April 18, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Another classic from my schooldays!”Rowena wrote this review Saturday, April 7, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“a classic, poetic and sacred”bookfan wrote this review Friday, March 30, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I finished this book over a week and I'm still not sure that I can write a review that would do this book justice. This is a novel that works on many levels. This is a tale of 2 fathers, similar in that each has a grown son who has left home. Neither man agrees the how their sons have chosen to live their lives and both men ultimately have to deal with the lose of their sons to the city of Johannesburg and the redemptive power of forgiveness.
This is also a tale of the land of South Africa in the 1940's where the policies of the Europeans are beginning to have a major effect on the tribal societal structure and the repercussions, ultimately leading to the Apartheid policies. The descriptions of the land are extremely vivid and some of the best passages in the novel.
The main voice is that of Stephen Kumalo, a pastor and a member of the Zulu tribe. Paton often uses direct translations of Zulu phrases which come off as very simple and at first, somewhat stilted. Through the novel, the repetition of these passages become like a repeated phrases in poetry, lending an eloquence to the prose that you don't see very often. This is a beautifully written, moving story which I highly recommend to all. ”
“Another "must read" book depicting both the beauty of South Africa along with with it's struggles. The prose is poetic; beautifully written and the characters are really human with strengths and weaknesses.”Lynsey wrote this review Wednesday, March 21, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No