The Boy Next Door: A Novel

Hardcover | September 8, 2009

byIrene Sabatini

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In<_st13a_place _w3a_st="on"><_st13a_city _w3a_st="on">Bulawayo,<_st13a_country-region _w3a_st="on">Zimbabwe, there is a tragedy in the house next door to Lindiwe Bishop--her neighbor has been burned alive. The victim's stepson, Ian McKenzie, is the prime suspect but is soon released. Lindiwe can't hide her fascination with this young, boisterous and mysterious white man, and they soon forge an unlikely closeness even as the country starts to deteriorate.

Years after circumstances split them apart, Ian returns to a much-changed Zimbabwe to see Lindiwe, now a sophisticated, impassioned young woman, and discovers a devastating secret that will alter both of their futures, and draw them closer together even as the world seems bent on keeping them apart.The Boy Next Dooris a moving and powerful debut about two people finding themselves and each other in a time of national upheaval.

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From the Publisher

InBulawayo,Zimbabwe, there is a tragedy in the house next door to Lindiwe Bishop--her neighbor has been burned alive. The victim's stepson, Ian McKenzie, is the prime suspect but is soon released. Lindiwe can't hide her fascination with this young, boisterous and mysterious white man, and they soon forge an unlikely closeness even as t...

Irene Sabatinispent her childhood in the laid back city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, gobbling up books from the Public Library. After University in Harare she ventured across continents to Colombia, excited by the chance to live in, learn from, and be inspired by a new culture. One early morning she found herself in the lush countryside ou...

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$11.19 online$14.42list price(save 22%)
Format:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 8.5 × 6 × 1.25 inPublished:September 8, 2009Publisher:Little, Brown And CompanyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:031604993X

ISBN - 13:9780316049931

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Customer Reviews of The Boy Next Door: A Novel

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love in a Difficult Time Lindiwe's neighbour, 17 year old Ian, has confessed and is convicted of killing his step-mother. After a year and a half, the conviction is quashed and he is released. Lindiwe and Ian meet up again and establish a sort of relationship. It all seems very casual and innocent, except that this is the period of Zimbabwe independence and there are tensions everywhere. Between whites and blacks, between blacks and coloureds, between army and non army. Lindiwe is coloured and Ian is white. She is still a school girl and Ian is an ex-con. Lindiwe continues with her education at University while Ian travels to South Africa and finds himself work as a photo journalist. Years later Ian returns to Zimbabwe and bumps into her and they resume their 'friendship'. I loved reading how these two develop their relationship. It just sort of seems to happen. A meeting and a soda, a visit to a museum, another day, a drive home from school. Other seeming random meetings. There didn't seem to be any one moment when it went from a casual friendship with a neighbour to a 'relationship'. That matched how there were no specific rules for how the whites and coloured citizens related to each other. Each character in the story seemed to follow their own set of guidelines of how they chose to interact with each other. Lindiwe attended a mixed school and by the time she was a University she had a very mixed assortment of friends from a number of countries. She is very secure in her interactions with them regardless of their race or career. When it comes to Ian , she is wondering if he finds the white girls and their smooth hair more attractive than her black hair. I didn't view this as a racist issue, rather of one woman comparing herself to others woman and wondering how she ranks in her lover's eyes. I enjoyed their moments of tenderness and Ian's concern for Lindiwe that was always evident. I felt that together they made a terrific pair that was much stronger than the two of them separately. While many secrets were revealed in this book, why Ian's mother left him, what both fathers did in the military, others we were only left with clues. Rather like the country itself, it was still in the building process at that time and it had secrets that would only be reviewed in time.
Date published: 2009-09-05

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Editorial Reviews

"Sabatini, who grew up in Harare and Bulawayo, offers a beautifully written first novel that explores the complexities of post-independent Zimbabwe--ever-shifting affinities of race, family, and other affiliations--through the love story of a mixed-race couple."-Booklist