The Water Thief

Pages: 352
Subject: Fiction
Imprint: Oneworld

The Water Thief

Claire Hajaj

From the award-winning author of Ishmael's Oranges comes a searing novel set in Africa, with a Graham Greene-esque moral conflict at its heart
9781786073945 (26 Jul 2018)
RRP £14.99 / US$26.95

The Book


Who decides what is right? How do we judge our actions? And how do we live with ourselves when things go wrong? From the award-winning author of Ishmael's Oranges comes a searing novel with a profound moral conflict at its heart.

When a heart attack kills his father, young architect Nick abandons his comfortable London life to volunteer abroad for a year - a last chance to prove himself, and atone for old sins.

But in a remote village on the edge of the Sahara, dangerous currents soon engulf him: a simmering family conflict, hidden violence and fanaticism, his host's lonely wife hiding secrets of her own. Their attraction threatens both their worlds, blurring the line between right and wrong. And when a deadly drought descends it brings an irrevocable choice. With all their hopes at stake, should he take matters into his own hands? Or let fate run its course? His decision has life-changing consequences for them all. 

Additional Information

Subject Fiction
Pages 352
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Claire Hajaj has spent the past fifteen years working in international aid and conflict resolution for the United Nations, across war zones from Burma to Baghdad. She shares Palestinian and Jewish heritage, growing up between the deserts of the Middle East and the gardens of rural England. Claire's writing has also appeared in Newsweek, The Sunday Times, New Statesman, The Telegraph, London Literary Review, as well as political institutions dedicated to peace. She has an MA in Classical and English Literature from Oxford University, and is a fellow of the UN Centre for Policy Research. She currently lives in London.


'I finished the The Water Thief with tears in my eyes. It's the story of so many Westerners who find meaning and purpose working in developing countries; who fall in love with a place and its people; who try so hard to make things better; and whose efforts can have tragic, unintended consequences.'

- Emma Sky, author of The Unravelling

'Claire Hajaj [tells her story] with intensity and a deep sensitivity towards people, and all their strengths and shortcomings.'

- Katharina Wantoch, emotion

'A profound Africa adventure.'


'The Water Thief by Claire Hajaj improves the world.'

- Oberösterreichische Nachrichten

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