The major conflict of each story is different. A description of each is below:
“Children of the Sea”—The male letter writer must flee Haiti to save his life while his lover remains behind and tries to carve out an existence under an oppressive government.
“Nineteen Thirty-Seven”—Jacqueline struggles to come to terms with her mother’s imprisonment and probable death.
“A Wall of Fire Rising”—Guy tries to carve out a livelihood for his wife and son in spite of the lack of economic opportunities and his own crushing depression.
“Night Women”—The night woman tries to provide a living for her son while maintaining his innocence.
“Between the Pool and the Gardenias”—Marie, after suffering several miscarriages, rescues a dead baby from the city streets and struggles to keep it a secret.
“The Missing Peace”—Lamort is drafted to help Emilie uncover the truth of her mother’s death, while dodging the violence of the macoutes.
“Seeing Things Simply”—Princesse models for a French painter and in the process must discover her own sense of self.
“New York Day Women”—Suzette follows her mother around New York City and struggles to reconcile this version of her mother with the version she has always known.
“Caroline’s Wedding”—Caroline is getting married and her sister and mother need to find a new equilibrium for their lives.