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But Can You Drink The Water? (Droll, witty, and utterly British) Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Length: 366 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1073 KB
  • Print Length: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Just4kix Books (20 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003PPCSJ8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #108,285 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jan Hurst-Nicholson emigrated from England to South Africa in 1972. Her novel is set 16 years later in 1988, but you get the feeling she knows what she's talking about.

The book follows the fortunes of Frank and Mavis Turner and their 15-year-old son Gerry from the moment the wheels of the 747 hit the runway at Louis Botha airport. They are a working class family from Liverpool, Scousers to the core. Frank has signed a five-year contract to work in Durban, dragging his reluctant wife and resentful, Mohican-topped offspring with him.

Hurst-Nicholson has a lot of fun with these innocents abroad, doubly baffled by a strange country with its alien climate, food, customs and wildlife, and by their sudden promotion to the bourgeoisie. They survive first encounters with sunburn, geckos, brinjal, litchi and naartjie and discover that, yes, you can drink the water.

Many of the jokes are at their expense, know-it-all know-nothings, but there are wider targets too. The author has a wicked eye for absurdity in the culture they have left behind. Mavis is impressed that their new home has an en-suite bathroom, but the thing that strikes her first is the toilet paper:

"'And decent loo paper too,' she noted, accustomed to the cheap, wood chipped Bronco sheets her mother insisted on because her dad wound them into spills for his pipe."

Very amusing - at first. After a while, though, the digs begin to seem a bit relentless. This is partly because the pitch of the writing varies very little, but partly also because there is really only one gag: the Turners are ignorant and badly educated, conditioned to their cold, wet, council house terraced lives in Liverpool and totally at sea in the wider world.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Personally I ended up living abroad by accident. I went travelling, and I guess I'm not ready to go home to England yet. This is the story of a Liverpudlian family who made a conscious decision to emigrate to South Africa in 1988. Albeit for a 5 year contract. At least, the father made the decision. His wife, Mavis, comes from a closely knit family, and a typical Council estate community. This book had me laughing out loud (which I seldom do) from the first few pages. It is wonderfully observant in the style of Bill Brysons' Tales From A Small Island. If you are an Ex-Pat, or have spent lengthy periods abroad you will recognise the emotions and episodes that beset the family. Gerrys' cry of "Dad there's a crocodile on my wall" had me in stitches.
When the family return to Liverpool, and life as they knew it, Mavis has insights that are so true. The author surely has 'been there, done that' to capture it so well.

The book isn't the longest and I would love to have had another 100 pages to giggle over. That's a good sign isn't it? At the price(under a pound),this is a real bargain buy, and great entertainment.

It is a book outside my normal reading preference, however it is one of the most enjoyable I have read for a long while. Thus I highly recommend this book to you.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is not going to change your life but it will give you an insight into life as a new ex-pat even if it is one that is now dated; being set in the late eighties as it is. I'm sure that if you decide to read it you will, like me, enjoy it.

I found the characterisation throughout a little thin and I think that the author could have explored many other avenues, for example Franks life at his new job, which would have fleshed out this book a lot more. It was over too quickly and seemed to jump forward in time too hastily.

The authors own sense of humour showed through when going for the laughs and at times it was little weak. There are only so many times a man can lose a set of dentures before it becomes annoying and Franks pranks (see what I did there?) bordered on downright cruelty at times.

On the upside, the story really evokes the noticeable differences between a cold, dreary England and the perpetual glory of the South Africa that, at the time, was a peaceful garden of the world. We can empathise with both Mavis and Frank who have a very different outlook on the adventure at the outset, yet find common ground and in this regard the book is well written. The author clearly knows the subject matter of SA and I suspect, has a familiarity with the working class ethos of the UK and describes this well in the prose.

Take a sip, you won't regret it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Lesley: [...]

Set back in 1988, this follows the story of working class Scouser Frank, his wife Mavis and 15 year old Gerry as they move from Liverpool to Durban, South Africa. This light hearted book was an easy read and kept me amused. There are many funny moments as they adjust to life in Durban and discover that in fact it's not the jungle, but that it's certainly not Liverpool either. 'We never shoulda come' is spoken often by Mavis in response to all manner of calamities, major and minor.

They make friends, adjust to the heat and get used to having hired help. The visits' of both Mavis' parents, and later her sister 'our Teresa' and her husband Clive, find Mavis surprising herself as she begins to defend South Africa and their new life. A visit back to England ends up causing both Mavis and Frank to rethink their decisions and confront their true feelings about where 'home' really is. Having lived abroad and experienced this for myself, I would have loved the author to have explored the daily struggles of adapting to a new culture more deeply. I do feel that the characters lacked some depth which this could have addressed. It would have also been lovely to have gotten a greater sense of what Durban was like when they arrived; the sounds, sights and smells which I didn't really feel I experienced.

Verdict: As a Kindle purchase costing me less than a pound this was an easy and enjoyable read but not necessarily one I'd pick up again.
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