Summary: Chapter 9

The city of London begins constructing the London Halo, a new city ringed around London, to house the new migrants. Saeed and Nadia settle in a work camp, where in exchange for working on the project, they will receive a home on forty meters of land and utilities. However, they must pay a tax on their salary to longtime London residents. They live in a pavilion camp with tarps for walls. Saeed and Nadia are fairly high on the housing list and hope to move into a home by autumn.

One night, Nadia starts dreaming about the girl from Mykonos. Saeed dreams of his father. He hears from a cousin that his father died of pneumonia. Saeed doesn’t know how to grieve and takes extra work shifts. Nadia tries to talk with Saeed about his father but finds she cannot. Although Nadia doesn’t pray, she asks if she can sit with Saeed and his group of friends while they pray for his father. He tells her she doesn’t have to. She sits with them anyhow but feels unwelcome.

In Amsterdam, an elderly man sitting on his apartment balcony sees a wrinkled Brazilian man emerge from the tool shed. The wrinkled man doffs his hat and goes back into the shed. Another time the wrinkled man appears, the elderly man invites the wrinkled man to the balcony. The wrinkled man then invites the elderly Dutchman to come back with him and shows the elderly man his paintings. The elderly man offers to buy one, but the wrinkled man gives it to him as a gift. They become a couple. 

Some British citizens work at the camp, primarily in supervisory roles. Saeed gets along with his British foreman, who, unlike many of the native Brits, eats with his underlings. Saeed thanks him for all he’s doing for the migrants, but the foreman doesn’t respond.

Saeed wakes before dawn to find Nadia also awake. He suggests they take a walk outside. They walk with their arms pressed together. Although both of them know they should talk, neither speaks. They look at the birds whose trees have been cut down to house the migrants. Saeed makes bird calls at them, but none react.

Nadia works on a crew that lays pipes as a man driving a giant digger makes trenches for them. The man who drives the digger is native, and his wife comes over from her supervisor’s role to have lunch with him every day. They welcome the company of the migrants of Nadia’s crew.