Magazine article New Internationalist

The Water Thief

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Water Thief

Article excerpt

The Water Thief by Claire Hajaj (Oneworld, ISBN 9781786073945)

Claire Hajaj can speak with personal authority on the subject of conflict and reconciliation. She is the daughter of a Jewish mother and a Palestinian father, and her semi-autobiographical debut novel Ishmael's Oranges rightly drew many accolades for its forthright take on love and war. In her follow-up novel, The Water Thief, she tackles the theme of international aid and the moral dilemmas it often carries as baggage.

Nick is an architectural engineer with a well-paid job, a fiancée and excellent career prospects. When his father, with whom he had a troubled relationship, dies, Nick leaves his comfortable life in London and takes up a charity post in Africa, helping to build a children's hospital in a remote desert village. Struggling to understand and articulate his own feelings of guilt and inadequacy, Nick is pitched into a world of political infighting, family feuds and corrupt government officials. …

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