Flight is a bold and brilliant debut, uncompromising in its vision, written with honesty and compassion.
Written with confidence, conviction, and a kind of crazed clarity, the stories in Flight shove us into close quarters with losers, loners, and lost souls.
--Sharon Oard Warner
José Skinner's wonderfully imaginative stories...introduce us to an astonishing range of characters and settings. Most exciting, they reveal a writer with an assured, deeply compassionate voice and a seemingly inexhaustible store of narrative ideas.
Jose Skinner approaches the Americas with an international focus.Born in Puerto Rico, he grew up in Mexico City before coming to the United States as a teenager. He returned to Mexico City at age 17 to study Latin American Studies, then went back to the U.S., where he studied international relations and fruit farming. In 1979, following the Sandinista revolution, he moved to Nicaragua to teach sustainable farming, but soon found himself writing dispatches about the toll that US intervention was taking in the region; he returned to the United States periodically to organize against that intervention. While in the U.S., he supported himself as a gardener, a translator, and an interpreter in the criminal courts of New Mexico.
Skinner's stories traffic in strange meetings and unusual conflicts.In "Solidarity," a Chicano scholar confronts a figure from his militant past. In “Plots,” a small-time schemer in a Chiapas village tries to simultaneously ingratiate himself with the Zapatistas, with the ruling Godoy family, and with European "revolution tourists." In "Tequila," a strange relationship develops between a rich Mexican boy and his chauffeur. And in "Dogs," a small-town sheriff's deputy must decide whether or not he has what it takes to bust a Salvadoran ex-military man under federal protection.
Although Skinner's stories often involve gritty subjects, he treats his characters with quiet dignity and a sharp sense of humor. In “Flight,” a woodcutter from the mountains of New Mexico is no match for the terrors of modern airport security. In “Qu
Será,” an American tourist risks her life in a rough Mexican town to save a stray dog. In "Weeds," a recovering addict toils in a community garden, trying to sweat his way to health.
In 2000-2002, Skinner attended the Iowa Writer's Workshop. Since then his work has appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies. He now splits his time between Austin, Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley, where he is an Associate Professor at the University of Texas-Pan American.