Esther is one of 139 schoolgirls abducted by warlord Joseph Kony and forced to become a child soldier. Though she eventually returns home she must then attempt to reconcile herself with all that she has seen, done, and suffered. Told in parallel we learn of Jane, an American writer who goes to Africa to find herself after her marriage fails. Minot weaves their stories together to examine suffering and loss in a suspenseful, heart-rending novel.
It is strange to be back. When I was with the rebels I stayed calm inside while there was much suffering around me. Now where it is safe here I am full of anger. Maybe I will nearly explode. I could even pick up a gun and kill someone, I think. I would not do it, but I still do not so much care if I am good anymore or not. In these times it feels good to hate.