The Boy Next Door

The Boy Next Door

by Irene Sabatini

Hardcover

$31.00
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Tuesday, July 23

Overview

In Bulawayo, 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 Door is a moving and powerful debut about two people finding themselves and each other in a time of national upheaval.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316049931
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 09/08/2009
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Irene Sabatini spent 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 outside Bogotá, sitting on the veranda of a former Dominican monastery: in the quiet, she opened a red notebook and started writing. She has yet to stop.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Boy Next Door 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
gl More than 1 year ago
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. ISBN: 031604993X Review copy provided by the publisher.
TheCrowdedLeaf More than 1 year ago
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.
lauralkeet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
TheCrowdedLeaf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
kidzdoc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This debut novel begins in post-independence Zimbabwe, in the city of Bulawayo. Lindiwe Bishop is a 14 year old girl who is a 'lightie', a Zimbabwean of mixed descent, whose family is the first to integrate a formerly white neighborhood in the city. Their closest neighbors are the McKenzies, including their 17 year old son Ian. The McKenzies are 'Rhodies', descendants of the original British colonialists that helped to create the state of Rhodesia, who are nonplussed to find themselves out of power after Ian Smith ceded control of the government to the country's most prominent black leaders.A terrible crime occurs at the McKenzie home, and Ian is found guilty and jailed. The conviction is overturned, and Ian is released months later. Lindiwe's parents order her to stay away from Ian, who is still suspected of committing the crime. However, she is a naïve and lonely girl who is ostracized at school and most comfortable at home with her books, and she is both intrigued by and enamored with Ian, who is also isolated and misunderstood. A secret friendship slowly develops, and it becomes more intense as each begins to trust the other.Their improbable love is the main theme of the novel, as their relationship is tested by family disapproval; deep personal differences, goals and beliefs; the racist attitudes of white and black Zimbabweans; poverty; and the country's demise under President Robert Mugabe. Throughout the novel, I repeatedly thought that the best thing that could happen would be for the two to separate, but at the same time I wanted them to find a way to make things work out.I absolutely loved Sabatini's portrayal of Ian, Lindiwe, and the other main characters that are featured in this wonderful novel, and I can't think of more than one or two other books I've read this year that emotionally gripped me as much as this one did. It is a grim story, but one filled with love and hope, and is most highly recommended.
Mumineurope on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ian, Lindiwe, David, Zimbabwe during the troubles
coolmama on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
LucyBH More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago