As Zimbabwe breaks free of British colonial rule, young Lindiwe Bishop encounters violence at close hand when her white neighbour is murdered. But this is a domestic crime, apparently committed by the woman's stepson, Ian, although he is released from prison surprisingly quickly. Intrigued, Lindiwe strikes up a covert friendship with the mysterious boy next door, until he abruptly departs for South Africa. Years later, Ian returns to find Lindiwe has been hiding her own secret. It is to bring them closer together, but also test a relationship already contending with racial prejudice and the hostility of Lindiwe's mother. And as their country slides towards chaos, the couple's grip on happiness becomes ever more precarious. 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.
Irene Sabatini grew up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. She studied psychology at the University of Zimbabwe and then took a Masters at the Institute of Education in London. She has lived and worked in several countries: teaching in Colombia, conducting research work in Barbadian schools and writing Environmental Science books for Zimbabwean primary schools. She currently lives in Geneva with her husband and two sons.