Thrown Among the Bones—My Life in Fiction


Dedicated to:

Ruth Bloch (1942-2021)
for helping me in my quest for Light
and for my loved ones
to whom I bequeath all the Light I discern

Thrown Among the Bones—My Life in Fiction welcomes you into my Workshop and Costumery, providing some backstory to seven novels written during my career as an author, and exploring my quest for ethical light.

The memoir is annotated with extracts from those fictions and other writing. It is an examination of certain seeds that fell upon, and were developed by, my imagination.

It exposes how my life contributes characters, costumes, debates and narrative fibres to create worlds that do not actually exist yet are credible enough to be exploited as venues for posing existential questions. It shows how urban landscapes and wilderness serve as the neon-spangled theatres of my story telling.

A poem opens the memoir:

I go back to 1949
After Sharon Olds

I go back to 1949.
I see them board the ship,
clutching two suitcases and my baby brother.
I see my mother,
with her copies of Petrarch and Giacomo Leopardi,
with her knitting patterns and great winter coat.
I see my father,
with his documents and two photographs—
all that were snatched from Holocaust flames.
I watch them sail down the east coast
and reach Beira, where it is all heat
and where the dockworkers’ songs are sad.
I should say—
Go back to the frescos and stucco.
Go back to the floating golden city
and the Bridge of Sighs.
But I must be born on savannah.
I must be born among musasa and muhobohobo.
I must know the resurrection of dry grass after rain.
Even though they will each die lonely deaths
amongst strangers,
with nothing, having lost Petrarch and Leopardi,
I will let them board the train
and go ahead into the interior,
for I must be born to the sound of mbira
and know the weeping of diaspora.



English Paperback

Published by African Sun Press ISBN 978-1-77630-651-0 (Print)
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Available on Amazon

Published by African Sun Press
ISBN 978-1-77630-651-0 (Print)

Buy Now


English e-Book

Available on Amazon
ISBN 978-1-77630-652-7

Buy Now

Opening Lines:

“My earliest memory is of standing in front of my first home and looking across an unfenced stretch of sun-withered sward, out toward the wild, blond grass of savannah that grew beyond the property. There would surely have been flat-topped trees in the distance, and the light would have been hot and shimmering, but I remember only the grass. The untamed, unbounded virgin covering moved in the wind, extending forever. That vision of dry, golden colour marked my first understanding of beauty, and seared into me a love of landscape. It prepared me for a later understanding of the ‘canvas’ upon which a tale is told and upon which a life unfolds…”


“Read this memoir slowly, take time to appreciate the author’s honesty, integrity and the raw courage of sharing so much, so deeply, and with such beauty. Respect!”
~ Jennifer de Klerk, May 2022
“Thrown Among the Bones is richly textured and intimately layered.”
~ Nancy Richards, Meet the Author: Woman Zone Book Club
“A fascinating and frequently poignant memoir.”
~ Moira Lovell, The Witness April 2022
“Intimately transparent, unwaveringly honest and brutally brave.”
~ Carmen Clegg, Daily Maverick, April 2022
“An unusual, completely fascinating, very moving memoir.”
~ Rodney Trudgeon, Fine Music Radio People of Note April 2022
“An unusual and absorbing memoir. It is a sensory experience, a photo album in words with the emergence of archetypes that are recognisable to each one of us. All have been intricately stitched together to being her multi-coloured life-quilt together. Thoughtful and articulate, Patricia is the mistress of magical realism.”
~ Beryl Eichenberger, Green Point Culture Club, Cape Town

Comments from characters I've worked with:

“I remember arriving at her theatre door, with my bag full of Shakespeare, having brought the wrong shoes, so she gave me a pair of hers—pink patent with chunky heels. That’s how it was, working with her. We swapped clothes. We ate cake. She was a marvellous director of the preposterous.”
~ Thespian Winter: Banquet at Brabazan
“When I see myself as she writes me, I cry.”
~ Bernard Sebastião: Skyline
“She turns you away from the most grotesque human behaviour, toward light and stars.”
~ Primo Verona: A Time of Angels