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Beginning to 1968


Orleanna Price

Orleanna explains how after Ruth May died she felt the need to keep moving continually to keep the grief at bay. In her need to move she began to walk, and then just kept walking, with her girls following behind her.

Leah Price

As the Price women flee Kilanga in the torrential rain, Mama Mwanza's daughters come running after them with oranges and water. These are the only provisions they bring along on their journey to Leopoldville. On the road they meet up with a few of the women from Kilanga. These women are on their way to bring food to their husbands, who are currently attending a political meeting in Bulungu, and the Price women decide to travel with them. Before they can reach Bulungu Leah comes down with an overpowering fever and cannot go on. A few men who happen by them on the road are kind enough to carry the delirious Rachel the rest of the way to Bulungu. Leah spends weeks gripped with malaria, recovering in a hut that belongs to one of Anatole's former students. Anatole has also left Kilanga and is now organizing something political in all of the neighboring villages.

Rachel escapes the Congo on Axelroot's airplane, and Adah and Orleanna try to make their way to Leopoldville by way of ferry. Leah, however, is too weak and sick to be moved, and so she remains in Bulungu. Anatole cares for her and nurses her back to health, during which time Leah and Anatole take the final plunge into falling in love. When Leah is well enough to travel again, she no longer wants to leave the Congo. She decides to stay and become Anatole's wife.

Rachel Price Axelroot

Rachel and Axelroot fly to Johannesburg, South Africa where they enter into the white high society. For the sake of propriety, they pretend to be married and Rachel waits impatiently for Axelroot to make the game into a reality. Axelroot disappears frequently on business, and Rachel busies herself by trying to fit in with the upper crust.

Adah Price

Adah and Orleanna walk toward Leopoldville for two days. At night they hide themselves with leaves so that soldiers will not see them. Late on the second night they are sighted by an army truck and thrown inside. Though the soldiers are planning to do them harm, Orleanna's eyes frighten them and so instead the soldiers drive the women to Leopoldville and hand them over to the Belgian embassy. In Leopoldville they are treated in the hospital for the various diseases that are coursing through them, and then flown to Georgia on a hospital plane.

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Corrections and Ideas

by GrammarJunkie18, July 11, 2013

Corrections: There are several mistakes in this article, from plot-related to grammatical. The ones I can think of off the top of my head are: a) Adah's right side, not her left, is crippled, b) the author used "effect" as a verb, and c) it's wringing, not ringing, near the end. Someone should probably look over this sometime. Also, the article presents Nathan Price as a completely flat character; however, he has his moments of uncertainty (for example, when he reshapes his garden into mounds, or when he reacts to the news of the little girl... Read more


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by coolshava, November 19, 2014

I feel that Nathan is not shown as a real protagonist. He isn't even a main character, as the book isn't about his actions, but how the females in his family respond to his actions. He would be more considered an antagonist, if he were more central.


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Ruth May

by frmgro615, May 13, 2015

Maybe I'm missing it, but I don't see any analysis about Ruth May...

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