Linde struggled throughout his year in Harare as his hopes for an adventure became mired in exhaustion, a feeling of impotence, and a sense of separateness that comes from being a cultural outsider. One theme of the book is the author's own turmoil over his commitment to psychiatry, a commitment at times reinforced and at times diminished by the course of his work in Harare. As he writes the book, Linde finds encouragement in letters from a former patient, Wonder, whom he had treated for a psychotic depression. Wonder recovered, attended college, worked a small farm, and wrote and published stories. He also maintained contact with Linde, unknowingly providing encouragement through his faith and resilience.