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But Can You Drink The Water? (Droll, witty, and utterly British) by [Hurst-Nicholson, Jan]
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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
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,541 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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
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
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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition
This novel moves at a cracking pace and has well-drawn characters. Join this larger than life Liverpudlian family as they adjust to life in South Africa and see their initial reluctance turn to acceptance and later love. Any expat will relate to the way they settle in and, eventually, discover they no longer belong 'back home' and no one wants to hear their stories or look at their photos. This is all very real. Family visits; Granddad's false teeth end up in a range of weird places; they are suspicious of the braai but delighted young Gerry is adjusting so well and that the sun has cleared up his spots. Could this be a case of Brookside goes to Durban? Maybe? Like the best soap operas, this is a light-hearted, fun, entertaining read. Definitely something for the beach.
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