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April 07 , 2011



“I shook my head . . . not wanting . . . not able to open my mouth because if I did, I was afraid I would scream.” These were Ruth’s words when she was invited to party on reaching the Rhodesian-South African Border in an armed convoy in wartime, prior to Zimbabwean independence in 1980. Before Ruth left her homeland, an African witch doctor—a woman dressed all in white—threw the bones for her. The witch doctor’s wild eyes said it all. She recoiled and refused to interpret what she saw in the scattering of bones, seeds, and pods in front of her. Ruth was left anticipating an unspeakable future. Living in the Scottish Borders years later, married to the devious and hardhearted Max, who subjects her to psychological abuse, Ruth faces both the disintegration of her marriage and the death of her husband. She will have to leave the marital home in its idyllic setting . . . “leave all that is familiar and all that belongs in places, in corners of a room.” She had done this before—lost an environment and a history.

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