The Boy Next Door: A Novel - Media Buzz - Irene Sabatini

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"'Two days after I turned 14 the son of our neighbour set his stepmother alight', begins one of the most engaging novels about inter-racial love to be published this century...  Sabatini shows the gradual collapse of her 'country of eternal optimists' with a hundred swift, sure touches and a rich cast of characters, heightening tension and mystery... It is entertaining, ambitious and packed with news from elsewhere, leavened by the precious optimism of youth. Don't miss it."

29 June 2010  - Amanda Craig,   The Independent

"What a worthy winner of the 2010 Orange Award for New Writers. This is an exuberant, tender and often humorous love story... Irene Sabatini is a born writer, and she has told a completely engrossing story which combines brilliantly realised fictional characters as well as evoking the only too real sad degradation of a once-thriving country."

2 July 2010  - Carla Mckay, Daily Mail

Det här är bra , riktigt bra - This is good, really good - Irene Sabatini is a brilliant storyteller and depicts without doubt an extremely important part of history and contemporary life. Realism, intelligence, and unaffected language goes hand in hand with the love story... There is a stream of text, a driving force in the narrative, which means that I can easily imagine that it will move from literary form to the film. ... boy on the other side is a strong debut novel that leaves a great deal of emotions and thoughts. Irene Sabatini is well deserved of the Orange Prize she was awarded this year; her book will stay with me for a long time.

19 September 2010 - Johanna Vernqvist,  Tidningen

Kärlek under 20 år av kaos - Love over 20 years of chaos -
Till bokmässan med det omdiskuterade Afrikatemat, kommer bland annat den zimbabwiska författaren Irene Sabatini. Hennes prisade debutroman kommer nu på svenska. Den heter Pojken på andra sidan och följer ett udda kärlekspar från Mugabes maktövertagande på 80-talet, till dagens kaotiska situation.

21 September 2010 kl 08:54, Kulturnytt - listen to SverigeSRadio

"Irene Sabatini had long held ambitions to write a novel, but had never quite mustered the confidence to do so. All it took, in the end, was a glimpse of the Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez eating breakfast in a hotel. This unexpected sighting of the novelist in a hotel in Colombia back in the Nineties gave her the self-belief to kickstart her own writing career. That career reached a high point yesterday, when her debut novel, The Boy Next Door, was shortlisted for the Orange Award for New Writers."

14 April 2010 - Arifa Akbar, The Independent Newspaper

"And now comes Irene Sabatini, with a fine and accomplished first novel, set in Bulawayo and Harare against the background of this unsettling history... Ian speaks a language that has now, in all probability, ceased to exist 'Rhodesian dialect' someone calls it. The author's powerful evocation of this lost way of talking, so ugly that it is beautiful, is remarkable... Irene Sabatini treads a minefield in her novel - it is pretty difficult to have a calm conversation about Zimbabwe with anyone who cares about it - but what she produces is a book full of understanding, insight and powerful beauty"  

1 May 2010  -  AlexanderLucie-Smith,   The Tablet

What do writers read? Irene Sabatini, whose debut novel The Boy Next Door has just been published, tells us about the books that have made her laugh, cry, kept her awake at night, and more.

February 2010 -  Bookhugger

"This is a story that stays with you long after you're done reading. Because Lindiwe's voice is so distinctive when she expresses herself, you feel her heart."

January 2010  -  New African Woman

" Much like the connection between her two protagonists, Sabatini's novel is formed on contrast. It is equally a frank cry against Zimbabwean politics as it is an intimate look at a loving relationship. These two themes, like Lindiwe and Ian themselves, bring meaning to each other in a deeply emotional way, and it is only at their intersection that they are truly complete."

Nov/Dec 2009 - Belletrista - Reviews

"Sabatini describes the people and the places that inhabit her book with care. She takes time with each place, with each person, to make them alive for you, because they have been alive for her. Boy exudes an authenticity and warmth that can’t come from an author’s imagination alone, but from a lifetime of listening and observing"

5 November 2009 - PopMatters - lt A Zimbabwean Love Story Set in Tumultuous Times

September 2009  -  More Magazine  -  21 Fall Books We're Buzzing About
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20 September 2009  - San Francisco Chronicle  - Grabbers - first sentences from new books

"[The characters'] shared status as outsiders brings them together in this novel about love, family and what it means to be African."

17 September 2009  - New York Times

1 September 2009  -  Poets and Writers - Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin

Author's toughest challenge:
“Ian is such a colorful character in the book, with a very off-the-wall vocabulary: I had to rein myself in because I was having so much fun with him and he was in danger of becoming a parody of himself.” --- Publisher's pitch: Executive editor Judy Clain calls the novel “a moving and powerful love story set against the backdrop of political upheaval in Zimbabwe after independence.”Opening lines: “Two days after I turned fourteen the son of our neighbor set his stepmother alight. A week later the police came. I was reading Sue Barton, Senior Nurse on the veranda, and I was at the part when Dr. Bill Barry proposes to Sue Barton.”

29 June 2009 - Publishers Weekly -  Fall Firsts

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