The World Against Her Skin

By John Thorndike

Biography / Memoir
Culture / Society

I connected with the author through a shared appreciation of the author of Living Poor, Moritz Thomsen. He also reviewed Thomsen’s book Bad News from a Black Coast, and it was so good I asked to include it in a novel I’m working on about the influence of Moritz Thomsen on other writers, and he agreed.

I learned that he traveled to Cuba with fellow author and friend Tom Miller, which resulted in his best-known book, One Hundred Fires in Cuba. I soon became aware that the author was also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who also married a lady from his host country, El Salvador, and went to Chile. My wife is Guatemalan, and we lived there for many years.

Thorndike is a talented writer, so I was pleased to receive his new book. Writing this book was the author’s way of keeping his mother’s memory close to him. Virginia and Joe Thorndike have been married for twenty-two years, and now she’s in love with a surgeon thirteen years her junior. Although the author never saw his mother and father fight, she leaves her husband and flies to Miami to start living with Rich Villamano, but there he tells her he has changed his mind and they must go their separate ways. In a flash, their four-year affair is over. She takes off in his car, heading north with no luggage, no hope or destination. She buys a bottle of gin and drinks it straight. She abandons the car, flies to New York, and takes an airport hotel room. She has no home and nowhere to go.

Book reviewed by Mark D. Walker
United States