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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
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 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.

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: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #50,855 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wished it was longer 27 Feb 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the first book I have read by this author but it won't be the last.

Although the synopsis states the book is about Frank and his family as they adjust to life in a new country I found there was more focus on the changing family attitudes when relatives from the UK come to stay. This doesn't detract from the story, it's part of the story, but I think there was so much more that could have been explored.

I would have liked to have read more of the day to day problems faced by Frank, Mavis (particularly Mavis) and Gerry as they settled into South Africa as I think it would have added depth to their characters as well as given many opportunities for humour.

Overall I enjoyed the book and dived back into it whenever I had five minutes. It ended too soon and I am left wondering what Frank, Mavis and Gerry are up to and I hope to see them again.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The water turned out to be perfect. 12 Jan 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I have just finished reading But Can You Drink The Water? and I loved it. I found myself thinking about the characters even when I wasn't reading the book, didn't want the story to end, and was really rooting for them to make a massive success of the move. Rarely have I cared so much about characters in a book so much that I have gone on to imagine what happens after the final chapter.

I grew up in Liverpool in the 70s and 80s, and the characters in this book felt so familiar, maybe that's part of why I became so involved.

10/10 from me!
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4 of 4 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But can you stop laughing out loud? 6 Jun 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very funny. I am from a similar working class background and although just moved to Southern England can appreciate some of the comments about homesickness and then years later feeling a stranger. I laughed out loud (a lot) to the consternation of the other train passengers who must have thought I was a middle aged lunatic!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But can you drink the water 24 Mar 2011
By NickyM
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First review I have ever written as I absolutley loved this book and read the book in one sitting. Look forward to more off the same.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny! 9 Mar 2011
By Kew
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, had me laughing out loud in the early stages of the book. As the story progresses, it is still amusing, but also more thoughtful. We see the impact that the move has made on family and friends. Also how the family have changed by living abroad. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 7 days 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 8 days ago by Plan134
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not entirely for me but well told
Published 18 days 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 2 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 2 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 3 months ago by maybknot
5.0 out of 5 stars LIFE IN THE COLONIES!

Having been twice to South Africa I can visualise his stories!
Published 13 months ago by Viviana
2.0 out of 5 stars But can you drink the water
I thought this story was ok told from an onlookers point of view but I was not terribly riveting a book I could either take or leave
Published 17 months ago by marilyn crampton
5.0 out of 5 stars very amusing
This is a great book, that could have even been longer. It tells the story of a normal northern family who move to live in South Africa. The characters are so realistic and funny. Read more
Published on 10 April 2012 by cherub85
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Not my usual type of book - I normally go for fantasy, humour or crime. I chose this book because I fancied a 'light-hearted' change and was not disappointed. Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2012 by Jaydee
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"I'll have to bu Gerry banged &quote;
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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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