The Boy Next Door – Irene Sabatini

Boy Next DoorIn the early 1980’s Lindwie Bishop is growing up in Rhodesia now called Zimbabwe amid growing unrest of a country trying to realize what it is like without communism, war and upheaval.

Next door, a terrible and almost impossible thing happens.  A fire erupts in the house and a woman is burned to death, where the police suspect that it was the step son Ian who did it.  After a while since they cannot find enough evidence against him, he is released and has the imposition of him being guilty that hangs off of him for a very long while.

When Lindwie notices him out and about, she doesn’t know if she should be afraid of him or not. The curiosity is there, as well as  some fear, uneasiness of Lindwie at least, but as she gets to know him, she cannot get him out of her mind, and they stick together more and more as the upheaval of the country is happening more and more and most likely inevitable.

They both travel away from their small town and meet up again years later when Lindwie is in university, and Ian is somewhat of a rogue photographer.  They start to go out, as the feelings they both share for one another, which they don’t talk about it is palpable, it is in the air.  Ian takes Lindwie out for a birthday dinner and a weekend away; this is when she tells him how she feels about him, and about the child they had that he doesn’t know about.

The Issues of race, class, war, and upheaval surround these two people in as much as their love for one another envelopes them in a security blanket, trying as it may to separate them when they need each other the most.

This is Irene’s debut novel.  All I can say about it that she makes the topic and background sizzle with raw emotion and intrigue as not only her and Ian fight for what want, but the other characters, the steps they take to right what was wrong in their lives amidst such chaos, the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, war and death that surrounds them.

Read an Excerpt

Reading Group Guide

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