A theme in the novel was identity, and what defines it. Bella and the kids have lived in many countries, can speak many languages, and have accumulated many passports. While they all belong to several countries, they still struggled with identity. After Aar died, the concept of identity became even more pressing in everyone's minds. They had lost someone who's love, affection, and presence helped define them. Bella especially felt the pressure when it was coupled with her need to raise Aar's children. Bella left her wandering ways, her many lovers, and her home to put down roots in Kenya. Even while she left her old life behind, Bella and the kids used their many countries and languages to define themselves; they are not just Somali or Kenyan or Italian, they are all of these things.

This redesigned book cover shows the addition of the Kenyan flag to the Somalian one. While they may live in Kenya they will never forget their roots nor what defines them. The Kenyan flag is just another layer to who they are.


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