But Can You Drink The Water? (Droll, witty, and utterly British) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 366 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
With nicely developed characters and enough description to help readers envision the setting, Jan Hurst-Nicholson has injected a bit of humor into this story of how much life can change in just a few short years. The Turners' speech is strongly imbued with a dialect that I assume is typical of those who live in Liverpool, adding more context and texture to the characters. Although these speech patterns may throw unaccustomed readers for a loop as they adjust, it's an integral part of the characterization. The story follows the Turner family as they get to know their surroundings, but I was a little confused about the timing. It wasn't always clear to me how much time had elapsed in various points in the story, and the time didn't seem marked by major life events for the Turners (with the exception of the visits from Mavis' parents and her sister). As a result, it almost felt as if we had been riding a really long moving walkway with interesting sights along the way. Typical of real life, we dragged along at times as we watched the Turners just experience life in Durban.
The book is interesting and readable, and I was curious to discover what happened to the Turners along the way. The premise is a bit "fish out of water" and it was fascinating, but I think it could have gone so much further. I enjoyed the ride, but I felt like we weren't really going anywhere. I think there were a few major themes going on here; one was the evolution and growth of the Turner family, and the other was highlighting the differences between life in Liverpool and life in Durban in a humorous way. I wasn't sure which was meant to be the main idea, as neither felt to me to be completely developed. Although this story is described as "humorous," I almost felt it was more literary, just with a lighter side. The story felt less about the funny happenings that the Turners experience, as I expected it would be, and more about a family coming to new realizations about what it means to feel "at home."
I enjoyed this story, overall. I thought it came together more at the end, making it worth the read along the way. Satisfying, like a warm cup of cocoa, but without the clear focus I expected.
@ MotherLode blog
I liked this very much. The Turners are leaving Liverpool for the promise of a better paying job and therefore a better lifestyle, in South Africa. Like most westerners, this conjures up images of animals and mayhem...Mavis Turner remarks on landing at the airport that she's surprised the plane didnt hit any elephants! Maybe because I lived in England, I could hear the characters speak; sounded a bit like they were very working class and having been to Liverpool, I bet their accents were just as hard to understand as Mr. Grobler's. The colloquialisms e.g. "our Gerry" are well placed and help to ground the characters. While I am ambivalent towards them, they are realistic - the anxious father wanting to do right by his family, the classless mother wanting to one-up everyone else in her family who thinks she's cheap and the surly teenage son, mohawk and all. I wonder what happens to them in South AFrica - do they stay the whole 5 years? Does Mr. Turner lose patience with his wife? Do they all come away from the experience with a changed perspective of Africa and its people? Does Gerry, the son end up with an African girlfriend What shock, what horror!
My only concern is that for those who are not used to British (or Liverpudlian) accents, some of the language may seem odd and perhaps, the author might want to give some context to the background of the Turners.
What memories and pictures it evoked. And we laughed!
Thanks once again for a lovely read.
The Guy living off the Internet