Lindiwe's neighbour, 17 year old Ian, has confessed and is convicted of killing his step-mother. After a year and a half, the conviction is quashed and he is released. Lindiwe and Ian meet up again and establish a sort of relationship. It all seems very casual and innocent, except that this is the period of Zimbabwe independence and there are tensions everywhere. Between whites and blacks, between blacks and coloureds, between army and non army.
Lindiwe is coloured and Ian is white. She is still a school girl and Ian is an ex-con. Lindiwe continues with her education at University while Ian travels to South Africa and finds himself work as a photo journalist. Years later Ian returns to Zimbabwe and bumps into her and they resume their 'friendship'.
I loved reading how these two develop their relationship. It just sort of seems to happen. A meeting and a soda, a visit to a museum, another day, a drive home from school. Other seeming random meetings.
There didn't seem to be any one moment when it went from a casual friendship with a neighbour to a 'relationship'. That matched how there were no specific rules for how the whites and coloured citizens related to each other. Each character in the story seemed to follow their own set of guidelines of how they chose to interact with each other.
Lindiwe attended a mixed school and by the time she was a University she had a very mixed assortment of friends from a number of countries. She is very secure in her interactions with them regardless of their race or career. When it comes to Ian , she is wondering if he finds the white girls and their smooth hair more attractive than her black hair. I didn't view this as a racist issue, rather of one woman comparing herself to others woman and wondering how she ranks in her lover's eyes. I enjoyed their moments of tenderness and Ian's concern for Lindiwe that was always evident. I felt that together they made a terrific pair that was much stronger than the two of them separately.
While many secrets were revealed in this book, why Ian's mother left him, what both fathers did in the military, others we were only left with clues. Rather like the country itself, it was still in the building process at that time and it had secrets that would only be reviewed in time.
For a reading guide, visit Irene Sabatini's site and click on links.