Kate, a successful author fearful of aging and uncertain about continuing her relationship with Yolo, an artist, sets off on a journey of spiritual discovery. She has been profoundly unhappy for some time, dreaming of rivers, until she takes off for rivers--the Colorado and the Amazon. Among strangers, Kate is able to distance herself from her life and her relationship. Yolo, on his own separate journey, meets a former lover, a Hawaiian woman now overweight and weighed down with the recent loss of her son to a drug overdose and a sense that she--like her son--has lost her way. Kate finds growing intimacy among a group of disparate souls who unburden themselves of their pasts under the influence of yage, a South American medicinal herb. Kate finds that the herb allows her to reveal her innermost secrets and puts her in touch with the elders. Despite their frictions, Kate and Yolo have similar reawakenings about the land as mother, overcoming personal and ethnic oppression, and dismantling barriers between the sexes, the races, and young and old. Walker's dreamlike novel incorporates the political and spiritual consciousness and emotional style for which she is known and appreciated.