The violent death of a Canadian water company executive in a black township of Johannesburg throws together a South African anti-privatization activist and the water executive's daughter, Claire, who arrives suddenly from Canada desperate to understand her father's death. The murder investigation -- led by an officer who is finding her own loyalties increasingly unclear -- and Claire's personal quest become entwined, and the young Canadian's involvement with the activist brings her ever closer to a shocking truth she might not be able to bear.
Sabrina-Kate - 4.5 Star
I can definitely see why Emma Ruby-Sachs is being hailed as a literary success and a new voice in Canadian fiction to keep an eye on. The story was not set in Canada but in South Africa, and no doubt a lot of research went into the telling of this captivating tale.
I'll be the first to admit that I really do not know a lot about South Africa but the details and history included in this book rang true. I have no doubt in my mind that I learnt a lot about the society there while reading this book yet it was completely interesting and not something that I found to be too overly factual. What I mean by that is that the story took precedence and the details explaining the circumstances were deftly woven in alongside.
The only nod to anything Canadian was that one of the main characters was from Toronto and I found it interesting to see how a Canadian might interact in a society so vastly different from ours and also to see what misconceptions they also had about a country that is very much struggling with its identity and treatment of its citizens.
There was only one part about three quarters of the way through where the story started to lag a bit but it picked up quite quickly and the ending delivered a very unexpected punch that almost left me breathless as it was definitely not something expected, not in the least.
For anyone who likes a really meaty kind of story, set in modern times but with a lot of factual elements as well as a bit of mysterious circumstances, The Water Man's Daughter is definitely a book you need to pick up (and will have trouble putting down!).
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