A memoir of an extraordinary family -- unexpectedly poor and forced to live on their wits amidst 1970s South African affluence, Tim Ecott's story is at times poignant, funny, affecting and moving. It's also more than a little bizarre.
Tim Ecotts family swapped Northern Ireland for apartheid Johannesburg in the 1970s. But just six months after arriving the family was bankrupt, evicted from their home and most of their possessions had been confiscated by the bailiffs. Whilst friends and relatives imagined they were living enviable lives in the sun, the reality was that the family was cast adrift. Forced to survive on their wits, they entered a twilight world where their true friends were prostitutes, thieves and renegades. At the heart of STEALING WATER is Tims mother, who rises magnificently to the occasion keeping the family afloat with her shop, The Whatnot. Situated in an arcade running underneath the streets of Johannesburg its the perfect place to keep below the radar of the police. Funny, witty, and affecting this is a very different African memoir about the true value of friendship and how the worst of times can become the most important and valuable period of a persons life.
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'The greatest memoir to come out of white Africa since Rian Malan's My Traitor's Heart - it reads like Angela's Ashes rewritten by Nick Hornby under a baking Johannesburg sun ... told with warmth, humanity and humour to burn.' -- Tony Parsons 'An extraordinary account of childhood in a baroque South Africa, peopled with a vast, positively Dickensian cast of characters - never sentimental, extremely honest and, I found, quite unputdownable.' -- Emma Thompson 'A truthful story brilliantly told - both funny and moving. I often had to lay the book aside to recover from laughter ... Tim Ecott cleverly captures the feeling of an extraordinary life.' -- Lynne Reid Banks 'Tim Ecott's story of growing up in Ireland and Africa is both haunting and funny. He writes with compassion and honesty to give us a truly memorable account of an extraordinary upbringing.' -- Fergal Keane 'Stealing Water is a simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking portrait of poor-white family life in the twilight of apartheid.' -- Richard E. Grant 'the narrative crackles and fizzles along.' -- Irish Times 20080223 'There are belly laughs enough, and some serious criminality to boot, but Ecott's outstanding talent as an author is for pathos. His mother's scorn of logic, fate and the laws of probability, carrying on her shoulders a whole world of worry, debt, misfortune and illness, and all her family's fortunes, moved me more than once to tears.' -- Sunday Times 20080223
About Tim Ecott
Tim Ecott is a writer, journalist and broadcaster. He was the script-writer for the much-acclaimed film, Deep Blue, and has written two books: Neutral Buoyancy and Vanilla. Tim lives in the UK with his wife and two children.
Stealing Water by Tim Ecott
Used - Very Good
Hodder & Stoughton
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