Farokodoba. Town in which Madou, a high-level minister in the unpopular government, is assassinated by rebels. Farokodoba and its neighboring town of Bafing are, if possible, even more claustrophobic and isolating than Rihata. Illuminated only by the lights of peanut sellers, the town is almost pitch dark at night, casting dark shadows on Madou’s attempts to reconcile with his brother and negotiate an alliance with the socialist government of the neighboring country to the north.
Marie-Hélène’s bedroom. Site both of Marie-Hélène’s imprisonment and of the means of her escape. As a place of imprisonment, her bedroom is the place where she surrenders to sexual needs and thus seals the contract of her unhappy marriage. However, the dreams she has while sleeping there offer her release from both time and space, allowing her escape from a life in which she feels uprooted and homeless.
N’Daru. Capital city of the unnamed African country and the most corrupt of the three urban centers described in the novel. Possibly modeled, in part, on Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), N’Daru is divided unequally between rich and poor. The most important job in the city is that of chief of police.
Here Madou is popular with citizens and beloved by President Toumany; he lives a charmed life in N’Daru. Before he is to return there, however, he is assassinated by a guerrilla fighter from the north intent on avenging Madou’s arrest of a popular leader. The murder sabotages Zek’s and Marie-Hélène’s chances for a better life and also plays into Toumany’s hands.
The dictator receives the news of Madou’s death in his magnificent, heavily guarded palace, surrounded by a 250-acre park. He privately boasts that he fooled Madou into believing an alliance with the neighboring socialist country would help liberalize his own regime, and he capitalizes on Madou’s death by making him honorary prime minister in death, thereby ensuring that he will never need to appoint another person to that position. Madou’s removal thus makes possible Toumany’s elimination of all potential rivals and the isolation of his country from the rest of the world.