Ginny continues to live at the Saint Paul YMCA, and takes a waitressing job in town. She likes the job because it allows her to make small talk with customers. She stays in the YMCA until Christmas, when she writes a note to Rose telling her where she is. Ginny is surprised to get a note in return: she was sure Rose would have eaten the canned sausage by now.
Ginny had made a bid to start her life all over again. The tragedy of the end of the book, however, is that she tries to start over, too late. She can’t stop thinking about Rose’s death—she can’t move on with her life until Rose has died from the poisoned sausage.
In Rose’s note, she explains that she and Ty divided the farm evenly: Rose and Jess will farm their half organically, while Ty will convert his half into a hog farm. In February, though, Ginny gets another note from Rose, explaining that Jess has left her. Rose is forced to give more of her land to Ty while she studies organic farming. Rose admits to Ginny that she’s not surprised about Jess.
Ginny has opted out of the family business altogether. (Smiley doesn’t get into the legal questions of how Ty just assumes sole ownership of his wife’s things; Smiley is seemingly more interested in looking at the way Ginny survives in the city, and she speeds up the pace of the narrative at this point). Meanwhile, Jess abandons Rose, suggesting that he’s not the kind, faithful man Ginny or Rose wanted him to be.