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Winner of the 2010 Orange Award for New Writers
Posted January 15, 2013
This was very emotional book that touched you to the core. Set in Africa Zimbabwe during the current war and glimpses of previous wars (conflicts). It is a sad book however well written. It touches our humanity on many levels, family, community, country politics, personal growth and many other aspects of life. This book makes you think and ask yourself if I'd be in Lindiwe's shoes would I do the same? I also was taken by character Ian - the man had guts and sense of duty regardless of his social status. It truly opened my eyes on some social issues that I had no perspective on at all. Great book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 6, 2010
The Boy Next Door, like many good stories, is difficult to characterize. The story of Lindiwe is a coming of age story and a love story. But since begins in Zimbabwe in the 1980s, The Boy Next Door gives us unique insight into the political upheaval and violence that accompanied those early years of independence from British rule.
Lindiwe and Ian McKenzie are both interesting and sympathetic characters in their own right, but the extraordinary circumstances that they find themselves in makes The Boy Next Door an engrossing and memorable read. Irene Sabatini has come up with a brilliant debut novel and I look forward to reading her next work.
Publisher:Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (September 8, 2009), 416 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Posted November 5, 2009
Breathe in. And out. Where do I begin with this review?
I received this book from Hachette Book Group; I'll start there. It sat on my bookcase for a while before I was ready to pick it up; it was intimidating and large and serious looking and I knew I needed to be ready for it. I started it, and fifty pages in I stopped and restarted it, and I'm glad I did. Restarting it allowed me to settle in with the narrative voice, it let me be fully familiar with Lindiwe and the way she uses memories to fill in the past so I can understand what makes the present so profound. The Boy Next Door is epic. It spans decades. It follows Lindiwe from adolescence through her transformation into a woman. She is fourteen when the novel starts, and her seventeen year old neighbor has been arrested for lighting his stepmother on fire. That's how the novel starts. But that's not where it stays. It follows Lindiwe and her neighbor, Ian, through post-independant Zimbabwe, through race tensions, and revolutionary riots, and love ,and loss, and danger.
Part 1 begins in the 1980's. Lindiwe is a young girl, shy, surrounded by racism and a country in transformation. Ian seems worldly to her, having been released from prison and returned to Bulawayo. They form an unlikely friendship, secret from the world. They are pulled together by an inexplicable bond that lasts through war and riots and years apart.
Part 2, the early 90's, finds Lindiwe grown into a young woman, attending school, with a future. Her childhood crush develops into something mature and deep. But there is always an overhanging sense of unease in Sabatini's writing; as though we know this happiness between Ian and Lindiwe cannot possibly last and be peaceful for the next 200 pages.
Part 3, the mid 90's becomes quick and tense. Revolutionary turmoil abounds, people are killed and murdered and violence surrounds them. The tension continues into the late 90's in Part 4. It peaks and I was left breathless waiting for the end. There is so much more I could write, but it would spoil the novel and you really need to read it and experience it first-hand.
Sabatini's debut novel is intense and beautiful and artistic. She captures Bulawayo and other places in Zimbabwe and they become characters in her writing, living breathing, forming new stories. The relationship she paints between Ian and Lindiwe is enormous and tragic and joyous all at the same time, it flows up and down with a life of its own, and we're taken along in the river and cannot escape. We could hardly wish to.
This novel was a debut novel, and it was beautiful. I had tears in my eyes. I suspect we'll all be hearing about Irene Sabatini in the future.
Posted March 30, 2011
No text was provided for this review.
Posted October 14, 2011
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