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Young,and full of an unfathomed desire to immerse herself in Africa, Nora Fentonarrives as a volunteer in a coastal village in Sierra Leone: an Americaninnocent, an accident waiting to happen. She has little understanding of theturbulence in her heart, of the complexities of race and religion in thisplace, or the hidden politics of the diamond trade. The layered account of herlove affairs -- prickly Aurelia, a South African refugee; soft-spoken,green-eyed Morlai -- is interspersed with the confession by a writer named Owenof his doomed love for Nora years later in New York. In the angles betweenthese characters lies a kaleidoscope of hidden stories and half-truths, whereinsimplicity is fractured into unbearable complexity. And throughout, Owen'svoice masterful, elegant, and yet unhinged by loss casts a spell, drawingus in and ratcheting up the intensity until we arrive at the devastating finalchapters.