The Boy Next Door By Irene Sabatini

The Boy Next Door by Irene Sabatini

Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2009

Winner of the 2010 Orange Award for New Writers

Borrowed from the library.

A love story that covers the first decade of post independence Zimbabwe.  Layered in history, ethnic divisions and political struggle and told directly and honestly, this is a wonderful first novel.

In the years following the Zimbabwe War of Liberation, Lindiwe Bishop, fourteen and black, lives next door to a white  family, the McKenzie’s.  One night there is a fire and Ian McKenzie, seventeen, is arrested and accused of a horrible crime.  A year later he is released and the two strike up a secret friendship.  Their relationship, in all it’s sweetness and turmoil, reflects the struggles taking place in a country trying to find political, economic and cultural independence and weighted with a history of ethnic violence and political corruption.

Sabatini uses everyday events, family tensions and the towns and countryside of Zimbabwe to tell a story filled with conflict but never heavy-handed.  A love story that is also a story of love for Africa.


Filed under OrangePrize, Review

6 responses to “The Boy Next Door By Irene Sabatini

  1. I would really love to read a book that takes place in Zimbabwe. The fact that this won the Orange prize this year makes me want to read it even more!

  2. I could have written the the same comment as Lola. Your review is excellent! :)

  3. This book sounds fantastic, I’m putting it on my wish list now.

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