And God said: Thou shalt love thy neighbour. He obviously hadn't reckoned on Ana.
Neighbourhood Watch takes place in the year between Kevin Rudd’s election as Australian Prime Minister and Barack Obama’s as US President. Everything was changing in the Western World and for a brief time anything seemed possible.
Against this backdrop we meet Catherine, a young woman stuck in suburbia, waiting for her life to change as monumentally as the world around her is. Into her life comes Ana, an elderly Hungarian immigrant carrying the weight of the twentieth century on her shoulders. As their unlikely relationship develops, Catherine’s life is transformed by Ana’s stories of an almost forgotten world: through her new friend’s eyes she witnesses the traumas of war, the desolation of the refugee experience, and the struggle of settling in a foreign land. It’s a common tale in our country, but one that’s all too foreign to middle-class Australians like Catherine.
In meeting Ana and hearing her stories, Catherine is given the rare opportunity of learning from someone who has survived the unthinkable. The courage this gives her in dealing with her own past is Ana’s gift to her. In turn, Ana is granted one last great friendship at a time when the journey to her life’s end was looking to be a lonely one.
Neighbourhood Watch is a glorious comedy about hope, death and pets. It's a classic odd-couple story: opposites attract, and from each other they gain a new understanding. But as the domestic crises accumulate, Neighbourhood Watch takes on a sense of enormity in the midst of the ordinary that would make Patrick White proud.
Katz is a true original and in Neighbourhood Watch her spirit of curiosity turns optimism into an art form.
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