The Boy Next Door: A Novel - Readers' Views - Irene Sabatini

Go to content

Main menu:


"A beautifully crafted and moving story - A poignant and at times unsettling novel; I read it almost entirely in one day. The African vernacular was a slight barrier to begin with but that soon passed. This resolutely unsentimental story deals with love – romantic, between friends and parental – as narrated by Lindiwe, as she moves from tongue-tied adolescence into adulthood. Racism, the aftermath of the war for independence and the chaos which came with post-colonial corruption are portrayed with clear-eyed deftness. Ms Sabatini's style is precise, spare and poetic. Her images of the magnificence and heat of Zimbabwe and of human cruelty and compassion are inspiring. An excellent novel."

"Loved this book! - This deep and intricate story is told by Lindiwe, a girl living in post-independence Zimbabwe. She falls in love with the boy next door: a convicted murderer. I couldn't put this book down. The love story was so true and surprising. The mystery about the murder kept me guessing. The risks Lindiwe and her loved ones ran in their everyday lives made the book a thriller. I was fascinated by the different characters and their secrets. One thing I love in books is when you can slip into someone else's character. This is so well done in this story. I like learning as I read and here there is so much to learn - about Zimbabwe, its recent history, how people live there and the effects on everybody from colonialism. How suffering caused by war, racism, religious intolerance and sexism wreaks havoc in people's lives. This book made me think. It's an uplifting story; it offers hope through trust, forgiveness and love..."


"What a beautiful story. Loved every page, loved Lindiwe's voice and the setting. I felt like I was in the middle of a girl growing up and a country devolving"

"What I love about reading is that you can pick up a book you've never heard of, full of a place and time you know nothing about and by the end of it have a real feel for the people and their lives. A small mystery , an unlikely seemingly impossible relationship and real characters set amid the turmoil of post-war Rhodesia/Zimbabwe sets the scene for a very memorable book. This book was 'lekker'!! "   

"It's to the author's immense credit that she breathes life into her characters, with even comparatively minor figures fully rounded and believable. Lindiwe's family are convincingly drawn, with subtlety and convincing detail. The mix of values, of clashing cultures, the search for personal happiness in a new nation racked by corruption, racism and the 'slim disease', all these infuse 'The Boy Next Door' and lift it into the must-read category. Highly recommended"


"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."

"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."

"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."

copyright © 2009-2018  Irene Sabatini
Back to content | Back to main menu