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

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

Jan Hurst-Nicholson
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Follow the hilarious lives of the naïve Turner family as they emigrate from Liverpool to sunny South Africa. Laugh out loud as they encounter ‘crocodiles’ on the wall, strange African customs and unintelligible Afrikaans accents. Cringe with them as their visiting in-laws embarrass them in front of their new SA friends.

If you enjoyed Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine you will recognise Mavis Turner.

Review
With a droll, witty, utterly British voice, this manuscript tackles playfully and sincerely the age-old fish out of water tale. What sustains this book, however, is the narrative voice, the dry and self-deprecating humor, and the ability of this author to tell a story simply and well.
Publisher’s Weekly reviewer for the ABNA semi-finals.

Set in the 1970s, BUT CAN YOU DRINK THE WATER? uses subtle observational humour with an underlying pathos to portray the upsets, hurt and changing family dynamics that emigration brings. (The story is based on a 13-part sitcom)
(74 400 words)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 792 KB
  • Print Length: 232 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:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #76,155 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Jan Hurst-Nicholson has been writing for about 25 years. Her articles, humorous articles and short stories have appeared in South African and overseas magazines and these were compiled into a book: 'Something to Read on the Plane' a bit of light literature, short stories & other fun stuff.

Her first children's book was 'Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the missing canary eggs' published by Gecko Books, and was one of Bookchat's 1993 South African Books of the Year. This was followed by 'Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the kidnapped mouse'. 'Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the bottled bat' is awaiting publication. These are humorous, animal, detective stories set in a nature reserve.
'Bheki and the Magic Light,' which tells of a rural child's fascination with a torch, was published by Penguin SA.
'Jake,' was published by Cambridge University Press.

Born in the UK, Jan emigrated from Liverpool to South Africa in the 1970s. Her experiences moving to a new continent were the inspiration for her humorous novel 'But Can You Drink The Water?' which was a semi-finalist (top 50 out of 5000) in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The book began as a 13 part sitcom, but when the producer couldn't get funding Jan turned the series into a novel. This is now available on Amazon as a Kindle digital book.

Jan worked in the R&D department of a large bakery for several years, and this gave her the idea for 'The Breadwinners,' a family saga spanning 50 years and set in Durban. This is now available on Amazon as a Kindle digital book.

Jan has also written a YA novel, Mystery at Ocean Drive, which was a runner-up in the 2010 Citizen/Pan MacMillan YA novel award, and is now available as a Kindle digital book.

Jan's writing also appears in 'Edge Words' (20 stories from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2006) published by University of Chester, 'Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul' and 'Chicken Soup for the Soul 101 best stories On Being a Parent,' and 'Summer Shorts'.

Jan is a member of the South African Writers' Circle, and of SpeakOut, an organization that teaches public speaking (for when she becomes a famous writer!)
She lives in Durban with her husband, two dogs that are forever on the wrong side of the door, two elderly cats, and the occasional visiting troop of boisterous vervet monkeys.


www.just4kix.jimdo.com

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't mention the A-word 24 Jun 2011
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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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Recommended. 19 Dec 2010
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Left no aftertaste. 9 Mar 2011
By Apollo
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad book for less than a pound 7 Feb 2012
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The chatacters are real. I'm certain we all have ...
The chatacters are real. I'm certain we all have people they are based on within our own families.
Published 29 days ago by Linda Taylor
1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish to be avoided !
This book is neither droll nor witty. Please don't be fooled by the blurb or the cartoon-like cover. What it is, is boring drivel. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Heather Feather
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
loved it
Published 1 month ago by barry taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of But can you drink the water
"l I have have really enjoyed this book about the exploits of a Liverpudlian family who emigrated to South Africa
it is droll and witty as the blurb says, The reader... Read more
Published 1 month ago by keith
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and light hearted
Funny book which is very light hearted and a great summer book. Some familiar ex-pat experiences and some equally far fetched parts. Great book.
Published 1 month ago by Mme turk
1.0 out of 5 stars Pointless drivel
She really shouldn't have bothered. Gave up after about 30 pages. As my granddad would have said "utter tripe".
Published 1 month ago by Plan134
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not entirely for me but well told
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. S. Le Beau
4.0 out of 5 stars Surpisingly funny read
nice, easry flowing story, intersting book ion a families upheaval for work and the impact onf this and the change in their attitudes and living dynamics - overall it was a light... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Suzy
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it!
A good read for summer, Brits abroad always make a good read and his was no exception. I enjoyed it.
Published 3 months ago by Ms. Fran Torode
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
I was not sure what to expect with this book. An utterly charming read recommended to anyone who loves to read.
Published 4 months ago by maybknot
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"D'you know when the real test will come?" he asked grimly. "No." "When we have to decide where we want to be buried." &quote;
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of turbulence, Frank Turner's white-knuckled fingers tightened round the armrests in the &quote;
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