A bleak but beautifully told story of four African women who find themselves working as prostitutes in Belgium. Sisi's death (which bookends the novel) moves the story through the women's pasts, presents and futures; how they got there, how they feel and what the future holds for them. An engrossing and sincere read, despite the harrowing, well-researched subject matters of the sex trade, wars, child abuse and severe poverty.
'Same as always,' Sisi said, thinking that for her nothing would be the same again. She had watched her dreams and those of people around her scatter every which way. Like having a jar of marbles, glossy with promise, tip and scatter, hiding the marbles out of sight, under chairs and under cupboards. Antwerp was where she would tease those marbles out, gather them and have them fulfil their promise. It was the place to be when your dreams died, the place of miracles: a place where dead dreams resurrected and soared and allowed you to catch them and live them. She was ready, finally, to embrace the prediction of an enviable future that had dogged her every day since she was born, its omniscient presence like an eye, always following her. She was eager to begin.