"Taking the reader through landscapes of disease, devastation and hope, Henderson's book is theoretically erudite without her philosophical observations overwriting the words of her respondents. She shows what fidelity in the fields anthropologists cultivate means within the practice of anthropology." Veena Das, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University
"In a most personal and ethically informed narrative, Henderson develops a carnal anthropology of the decaying and dying body of HIV/AIDS patients that may trigger love and care as well as stress and rejection. Her work will be of immense benefit to medics, social workers, and home-based care organisations confronted with this disease." Jean-Pierre Warnier, Professor of Anthropology, African Studies Centre, Paris " ... a beautiful, messy-with-life book. I am awed by Henderson’s protracted ethnographicwork, and her storytelling, that at once sprawls out into a community and spills inwards, closely grained, looking steadily (and respectfully) at the minutiae of how illness, griefand healing is experienced in mutual, inter-subjective gestures. There is something astute, fierce and intimate that we take away from reading A Kinship of Bones – like touching and being touched, we see and care about people in a different way." Linda Wilbraham, Rhodes University, South Africa
In 2003-2006, Patricia Henderson lived in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal where she recorded the experiences of people living with HIV/AIDS. In this illuminating study, she recounts the concerns of rural people and explores local repertoires through which illness was folded into everyday life.
The book spans a period when antiretroviral medication was not available, and moves on to a time when the treatment became accessible. Hope gradually became manifest in the recovery of a number of people through antiretroviral therapies and ‘the return’ of bodies they could recognise as their own. This research implies that protracted interaction with people over time, offers insights into the unfolding textures of everyday life, in particular in its focus on suffering, social and structural inequality, illness, violence, mourning, sensibility, care and intimacy.
Patricia C. Henderson is a lecturer in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town.