Cry, The Beloved Country is about apartheid when it was beginning in 1946 in South Africa. The book follows the journey of a black priest named Stephen Kumalo, as he goes from his small tribal village to the large city Johannesburg in search of his sister, brother and son. He was sent a letter from another priest Msimangu telling him that his sister was very ill and he must come at once. When he arrives he discovers that his sister is leading a very spiritually sick life. She repents of her life and stays with Kumalo with the intention of returning to the village. His brother John is doing very well, he owns a shop and is active in politics, however had lost his faith and no longer believes in the church. Kumalo’s son Absalom takes the longest to find and when he is finally found it is in a prison cell awaiting trial for the murder of a white man, which is the biggest crime a black man could commit. These trials wear on Kumalo and he almost loses his faith, but he rises up to the task set to him for bringing the tribe back together and renewing the land to support the tribe. This is a wonderful book about a very hard time in history, but it’s a little too coincidental for me. It seems too convenient that Absalom shot the son of the white man who lived by Kumalo’s village, who then began to reach out into the community he had previously ignored. The end feels a little too neat as well. ‘oh there’s so much death and suffering, but we’re all going to be fine!’ It just doesn’t work for me, but I get where Paton was going with it. He wanted an optimistic end to his book to show the world that this could end peacefully, maybe not quickly, but surely the next generations will stop it. However, apartheid didn’t end till the late 90s, so now so many years later it feels like Paton was too optimistic with his ending. Luckily not too much was taken away from the book, just a dramatic tone shift at the end, all in all a classic that should be read.