This collection of short fiction by Maria Thomas is set in Africa, but its characters are visitors from abroad, going to Africa under the illusion that the change in climate will alter their lives. "You learn to be fatalistic in the tropics . . . you're far away because there's nothing you control, not even the language," a woman named Marlene writes in the title story. Characters range from a sculptor, who loses her marriage but finds her own vocation, to a black student from Mississippi, sent to Nigeria as an international development intern, who learns that her African lover is married. After meeting his wife, she writes her thesis on the womenfolk in the polygamous Yoruba households and recommends that all development aid go directly to them.