The Boy Next Door: A Novel - Synopsis - Irene Sabatini

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Winner of the Orange Award for New Writers 2010

The Boy Next Door: A Novel (2009)

US: Little, Brown & Co. ---  UK: Sceptre
International Rights:
Brazil, Germany,
 Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden

"Immediately engaging, vivid and buzzing with energy, The Boy Next Door is the work of a true storyteller."

"At heart a love story, it is also so much more as, through the experiences of its charismatic protagonists, it charts the first two decades of the emerging Zimbabwe with honesty, humour and humanity.

"Irene Sabatini has written an important book that will enchant readers and which marks the emergence of a serious new talent.”

Di Spiers, Editor of Readings at BBC Radio 4,
Chair of Judges, 2010 Orange Award for New Writers

Vividly evoking the traumatic history of a nation once brimming with promise, THE BOY NEXT DOOR tells an engrossing, unpredictable story of love against the odds, and of the shadows cast by the past.

THE BOY NEXT DOOR is an astonishing, brilliant debut novel about what it means to witness, to change, to love, and to remain whole when the world outside is falling apart.


In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, the son of Lindiwe Bishop's white neighbour, seventeen-year-old Ian McKenzie, is arrested for a terrible crime. A year later Ian returns home, the charges against him dropped. He is brash and boisterous, full of charm and swagger, and fascinating to fifteen-year-old Lindiwe. She accepts a ride from him one day, despite her mother's warnings, and something grows between them -- becoming stronger and stronger in a world that wants nothing more than to divide them. A secret that Lindiwe keeps hidden, and which Ian discovers years later, ensures that their lives will be irrevocably entwined as their country crumbles around them.

copyright © 2009-2018  Irene Sabatini
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