Irene Sabatini Recommends...

“I wrote The Boy Next Door in Geneva, Switzerland and one of the biggest challenges for me was to capture the essence of life in Zimbabwe, particularly the second largest city, Bulawayo, in the eighties, which was a delicate period: optimism and hope (Zimbabwe was newly independent after a brutal war) and fear (the peace, at times, seemed fragile). Music was what constantly brought Bulawayo during that period vividly alive for me. Mostly Johnny Clegg and Savuka with their song, “Scatterlings.” That song had a visceral effect on me, the energy and vibrancy of its African beat surging through my body, sweeping away the years and landing me right there in that time. More so when I came upon the video on YouTube. It made me both sentimental and clear-eyed. And then there is the wrenching cry of the song ‘Asimbonanga,’ ‘We have not seen him,’ that captured for me the sorrows of that period when South Africa was still under apartheid and the southern part of Zimbabwe was suffering from a wave of killings. The music grasped me at a profoundly emotional level; when the emotion subsided its echo was still there as I sat down and wrote Lindiwe and Ian's story.”
Irene Sabatini, author of The Boy Next Door (Little, Brown, 2009)

Photo credit: Fabio Sabatini