Book Details

  • Title: Dancing on Bones
  • Author: Ross Gordon
  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Publication Date: 31 August 2022
  • Number of Pages: 640

Book Themes

(Note: 0=none, 1=a few, 2=considerable, 3=pronounced, 4=excessive)

  • Sexual themes: 0
  • Religious themes: 1
  • Violence, self-harm, etc.: 1
  • Crude language, expletives, swearing, etc.: 1
  • Other adult themes: 0


This is the author’s first book and it is a beautifully written account of an African childhood and the difficult decolonization of Rhodesia.

Ross Gordon was born in Rhodesia to a white Rhodesian tobacco farmer with a slightly offbeat personality and a British mother who was born in the city. In 1963, Africa was the place to find the solutions to life’s problems and the inspiration for a young boy’s growing imagination.
Dancing on Bones is primarily a story about life; a life that is unexpectedly similar to our own, although at times completely unimaginable. The story is set against the backdrop of a vicious civil war. In this book, Ross Gordon describes life as he sees it, or more specifically, as he observed it while growing up in Rhodesia.

Through his eyes, we experience the same helpless anticipation that life will always be simple, just as one would anticipate of a child who comes from a content and healthy farming family. We are envious of life in Africa, though we read with a heavy heart from the start, knowing there will be no happy ending.
We are envious of the way of life in Africa, despite the fact that from the very beginning, we read with a heavy heart because we already knew there could not be a happy ending.

The author does a good job of transporting his readers to the environment in which he spent his childhood. We share his admiration for his father, his reluctance to accept change (hence his secret jealousy of a newborn sister, and frustration at not having a say in family decisions such as schooling), and we are thoroughly entertained, sometimes in a stomach-turning way, as we see ourselves in similar situations. We unknowingly become part of his family, feeling as if we have been there since the beginning. Unknowingly, we are incorporated into his family, and we get the distinct impression that we have always been a part of it.

The writing style is unusual at first, but it grows on you quickly and becomes comfortable. It is possible that Dancing on Bones will be read and analysed for a considerable amount of time in the future.

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2 thoughts on “Featured Book: “Dancing on Bones” by Ross Gordon”
  1. It’s so incredibly sad that our childhood rosy view of the world usually gets shattered, but this must be an amazing book if you think it “will be read and analysed for a considerable amount of time in the future” and if the auhtor manages to make us feel part of his life.