Her paternal grandfather was shot and beheaded by the `kneeless' in front of her father's popping eyes, but Chinongwa can't be sure if this story is real. It is so intertwined with evening tales of conversational snakes and men being buried with mice tied to their backs, she has problems disentangling fact from fantasy. But at age nine reality sets in as she is given to a man older than her father for food. And after her first-born comes to her at age eleven, and after she is widowed at age twenty-five, and after she is dirtied at twenty-six, and after giving birth to her tenth at twenty- seven - is there any longer a place for Chinongwa in dreams? A riveting first novel by Zimbabwe-born Lucy Michot, Chinongwa is a sensitive and human account of shifting communities in rural Zimbabwe.