How do you imagine the future when your story traps you in the past?
Harare, 2000. Gabrielle is a newly-qualified lawyer, fighting for justice for a young girl. Ben is an urbane and charismatic junior diplomat, attached to Harare with the American embassy. With high-level pressure on Gabrielle to drop her case, and Robert Mugabe’s youth wing terrorising his political opponents as he tightens his grip on power, they begin a tentative love affair. But when they fall victim to a shocking attack, their lives splinter across continents and their stories diverge, forcing Gabrielle on a painful journey towards self-realisation.
Irene Sabatini, Winner of the 2010 Orange Award for New Writers, navigates Zimbabwe’s unfolding political crises, showing how the dehumanising effects of political violence can shape and remake a life. An Act of Defiance is a sweeping political drama about a young woman’s fight for love and agency in troubled times.
‘An incredible achievement.’
—Chika Unigwe, author of On Black Sisters’ Street
‘A searing, delightful gem of a book. In prose that delights and informs, Sabatini’s characters soar, gifting us with all that is tender and brutal and beautiful and honest.’
—Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, author of House of Stone
‘Raw, moving and utterly compelling. Sabatini has written an incisive and unflinching novel.’
—Tendai Huchu, author of The Hairdresser of Harare