The Water Thieves

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The Water Thieves

Sam Mahon

Publisher:Random House New Zealand Ltd

The Water Thieves is a passionate and engaging account of a year in the author's life. Galvanised into action by the realisation that the wetlands and streams all around him have begun to wither, Sam Mahon embarks on a year of involvement in local body politics. This memoir charts the frustrations, relationships, and conflicts, as well as the need for wild invention when he agrees to run for Council. Mahon's descriptions of the natural world rival those from our best poets. Yet when he describes the real nuts and bolts of politics: council meetings, memos, phone trees, protests, working with fellow environmentalists, he's also a comically disarming and often blistering, social satirist. His energy for sustaining a fight in the face of maddening obstruction is prodigious. Mahon's techniques for gaining councillor and media attention are hilarious, bloody-minded and bold: from pyrotechnics to mock funerals; from stabbingly witty speeches to asking those in power to put their politics where their immediate health is, demonstrates all the qualities of the firebrand. This memoir is poetry, expose, elegy, Shakespearean comedy, drama and protest song.Mahon weaves the world of the artist and the world of the environmental activist with skill and immediacy. His comments on human nature, including his own, make for some hilarious, and sobering, moments. The Water Thieves is an astonishing and intensely interesting account concerning one of our most valuable natural resources. It is skilfully and passionately written with an individual and honest voice: a new voice in the literary non-fiction genre of memoir.

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