Although the nurse who helped to deliver Anna’s baby said that children with a harelip could bring a good luck, Michael didn’t have much happiness. Being raised in an orphanage, he had to deal with constant hunger and absolute absence of family warmth. When he grew up, he obtained a position of a gardener in Cape Town. His mother, who had worked as a servant, started feeling worse and worse with an every new day. Taking into account an unfolding civil war, implementation of martial law and drastic decline of Anna’s health, Michael was made to comply with Anna’s wish to go to Prince Albert.
After a failure to get a permission to leave the city, he assembled a rickshaw for his mother. The road proved to be too difficult for her. She died in hospital. Being devastated, Michael spent several days in the city, but then decided to continue his journey. He wanted to bury ash of his mother. Due to absence of travel permit, Michael was made to work on a railway road.
Soon enough he was free again. After reaching Prince Albert, the man found an abandoned farm. Michael settled down there, enjoying blissful solitude. Soon, a relative of the owners came there. He thought that Michael was a servant and started ordering him to run his errands. That situation wasn’t to Michael’s liking, so he fled.
After a grueling period of life in the mountains, he was taken to a work camp, where he met Robert. The man revealed him the truth about the place, where the poor were used as cheap labor. During the attack on Prince Albert, he ran away to the camp. Michael erected a hut near his garden and tried to immerse himself in a peaceful life. He wasn’t only one to like the place. The rebels came there too. Soon, he was discovered by soldiers and sent to a rehabilitation camp. After all struggles, he was forcefully returned to Cape Town.
Identified as a "colored male," he was interrogated about rebels, but he couldn’t tell anything. Michael became rather weak and refused to eat. He also caught the interest of a doctor, who desperately tried to solve a riddle of Michael’s refusal to eat. The doctor also wanted to help him to get released. All of his struggles were in vain, for Michael ran away from the camp.
After that Michael bumped into a bunch of nomads, who gave him food and introduced him to a woman, who slept with him. He returned to a flat where he used to leave with his mother before departure. The thoughts about his garden didn’t leave him.