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The Boy Next Door: A Novel by Irene Sabatini
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The Boy Next Door: A Novel (2009)

by Irene Sabatini

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1561076,544 (4)1 / 76
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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Not got that far with it but I am enjoying it. A bit disjointed so you have to out it down from time to time and remember what was in the news about Zimbabwe. ( )
  adrianburke | May 21, 2013 |
Boy meets girl novel set among the backdrop of Mugabe's transistion to leader of Zimbabwe that slowly sneaks up on you and draws you in. I really loved Sabatini's writing and look forward to future work from her. ( )
  mtrumbo | Nov 10, 2011 |
I really enjoyed this well written debut novel about Lindiwe Bishop and her next door neighbor, Ian Mackenie.

Lindiew lives in rural Zimbabae right after independence. This book takes places in 4 parts - from 1980s-late 1990s and shows the relationship not only of these friends as they fall in love but also highlights race relations, and the downfall of the country during these times.

Well crafted, beautifully written in short, quick chapters. ( )
  coolmama | Sep 1, 2011 |
Ian, Lindiwe, David, Zimbabwe during the troubles ( )
  Mumineurope | Aug 13, 2010 |
Set in post-colonial Zimbabwe, The Boy Next Door is the story of Lindiwe Bishop, a quiet 14-year-old girl of mixed race. She and her family live in what was previously an all-white suburb. Ian McKenzie, the boy in the title, is a few years older, of British (white) descent, and when the story opens, has just been arrested for setting his stepmother on fire. Despite, or perhaps because of, parental warnings, Lindiwe is fascinated by Ian. When he is cleared of charges and returns home after serving a reduced sentence, the two strike up a clandestine friendship.

As we follow Lindiwe and Ian over more than a decade, the focus is on their relationship, set against a backdrop of a country crumbling under Robert Mugabe's dictatorial rule. Ian and Lindiwe's relationship is complex, compounded by the racial tensions prevalent across the country and an intricate set of relationships between and within their families. As the two mature, they become more aware of family secrets that have shaped their lives. Ian struggled with demons resulting from his unstable home life. And I felt Lindiwe's pain every time she discovered a truth about her past, and every time she returned to her home town of Bulawayo, only to find it even worse off than the last time. They made an unlikely couple; most of the time their relationship seemed unhealthy, and yet they would never have survived the political unrest without one another.

So much of the story revolves around these secrets, it is difficult to write a review that does justice to this book. Irene Sabatini reveals the truth in tiny fragments, like a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. I'm not even sure I caught everything, and even after rereading a specific section several times, there's still one aspect that remains unexplained. This is exactly the effect I think Sabatini was trying to create, and it makes for a gripping and emotional read. This is an impressive debut novel, and I hope to see more from Irene Sabatini. ( )
6 vote lauralkeet | Aug 8, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Irene Sabatiniprimary authorall editionscalculated
Biekmann, LidwienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johansson, IngerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwaab, JudithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wrotny, AnnaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to Fabio, who never believed otherwise; Griffin and Riordan, treasures; and my parents who set me on my way.
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Two days after I turned fourteen the son of our neighbor set his stepmother alight.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Set in Zimbabwe during that nation's political upheaval, "The Boy Next Door" is a moving and powerful debut about two people finding themselves and each other in a terrifying time of chaos and revolution.

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Irene Sabatini is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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