Schulman’s fourth novel tells the parallel stories, separated by more than a century, of two outcast Americans setting off into Africa. Jeremy, a nineteenth-century engineer whose homosexuality has estranged him from his family and friends in Maine, takes a job building a railroad across British East Africa. Max, an ethnobotanist with Asperger’s accepts a pharmaceutical company’s challenge to track down a chemically promising vine in a remote Rwandan gorilla refuge. Both find a sense of belonging: Jeremy through the friendship of an African guide who helps him hunt two man-eating lions, and Max through kinship with a family of gorillas. Against a backdrop of punishing nature and menacing warlords, Schulman meticulously explores the inner lives of her characters, as both Jeremy and Max are forced to weigh the effects of their work on the land they have begun to love.