"Harshly beautiful, magical and hoot-out-loud funny, José Skinner's stories shoot the truth about the American Southwest like an X-ray."

C.M. Mayo

"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."

   --Sandra Scofield    

Praise for José's work in literary anthologies and magazines:

Clackamas Literary Review, 2006: "José Skinner’s astonishing fiction, 'Counting Coup,' the most provocative piece in this issue and definitely dangerous, cuts as close to the bone as any story can, laying bare an Apache boy’s sexual coming-of-age and subsequent betrayal."--Rachel Yoder, NewPages.com

In the Shadow of the Strip: "José Skinner's 'Naked City' is a finely wrought and funny story. It's set completely in Las Vegas, yet the characters never once set foot in a casino, and they haven't blown their last dollars at a card table. In fact, Ernie, the retired protagonist, "knew next to nothing about the mob, gambling, showbiz, all those Vegas things. He was a working stiff." And yet, without the crutch of an all-night gambling run, Skinner is able to deliver a[n] accurate picture of the Las Vegas I live in…"--Goeff Schumacher, Las Vegas Mercury.

Las Vegas Noir: "José Skinner’s 'All About Balls' features a fifth-year graduate student named Ortiz who visits Las Vegas to attend a conference of the American Culture Association. Still undecided on his master's thesis, Ortiz thinks he's died and gone to heaven when he discovers a group of indigenous people called Mictlanos living on the outskirts of the city. Little is known about the Mictlanos of Mexico, which makes them a perfect subject for study. Ortiz knows that Mictlano customs include strange rites involving men and women, but he has no idea how strange they are until he is invited to a Mictlano fiesta."--Mary V. Welk, reviewingtheevidence.com

Our Lost Border: Essays on Life Amid the Narco Violence: "José Skinner conveys his [borderlands] students' experiences through their stories and discussions, speaking of the emotional impact of the violence that is becoming banal for them. Offering humor amongst the tragic consequences, he suggests criminality to be a rebellion against poverty and imagines what a revolution might bring."--Paul Fallon, East Carolina University, institutofranklin.net

 


Praise for The Tombstone Race:

"With verisimilitude, compassion, and a surprising amount of nobility, Skinner navigates the mean streets of New Mexico with cunning and grace." Kirkus Reviews

"Skinner's stories are smart and colloquial, conflicted and comical, Latino yet uniquely American. He doesn't pull punches with roles and he allows the individuals he follows to roam outside the box of assumed roles." Austin American Statesman

"The authenticity of José Skinner's experiences as a Spanish/English interpreter in the courtrooms of the Southwest hit harder than an NFL linebacker." Latina magazine

"New Mexico is fertile literary soil for José Skinner’s second story collection, The Tombstone Race. The 14 stories explore society through the lens of ethnicity, class, friendship, family conflict and generational friction...Believable, quirky characters, young and old, inhabit the stories." David Steinberg, Albuquerque Journal

"[I]n this collection’s best pieces, there is a deep intimacy on display — the warbled patterns of characters’ thoughts and language tics, the endless details of their family conflicts — that is hard-wrought from a lifetime of careful observation."  Casey Sanchez, Santa Fe New Mexican

"These are New Mexico stories, but they belong to all of those who suffer in the hidden world of deprivation and desperation that much of America would rather not see. There is beauty in Skinner’s world, but it is not the easy beauty of green summer days along a blue river, but the honesty of looking a desperate person in the eye and finding humanity there." Jennifer Wisner Kelly, Center for Literary Publishing

"[M]ultiple magical worlds, each story containing its own aching heart, artfully reflecting its own complex vision of modern-day New Mexico."--Annie Dawid, High Country News

Interviews with José:

"Latin American and Spanish authors find the injunction 'avoid politics,' heard so often in U.S. creative writing instruction, strange. Imagine what would be left of Muñoz Molina or Roberto Bolaño or Isabel Allende or Vargas Llosa if they were to eschew politics." -- With D. Seth Horton, in the Center for Literary Publishing at the Colorado Review, November 20, 2015


"I try not to use foreign words and phrases without making their meanings clear from the context, because I can understand a reader’s frustration in feeling she might be missing something beyond the air of authenticity such words impart. So I wouldn’t want to use Spanish in my stories as extensively as Fitzgerald uses French . . . or as much as Cormac McCarthy uses Spanish in his border trilogy. But I also don’t like having to italicize the Spanish words, because it makes them stand out awkwardly." -- with Mariya Taher in Solstice Literary Magazine, May 2015

 

Praise for Flight and Other Stories:

"Varied, well-crafted and frequently daring..." -- Publishers Weekly

"In all, there are 14 stories, each a full-bodied account told by authentically-speaking, vibrant characters brought alive on the page through the marvelous ease of a writer who knows his subject and how to present it."-- Annette Sanford, Dallas Morning News

"Flight and Other Stories is a splendid collection, gritty and authentic and full of wisdom, not just about Hispanic-Americans but about all of us. José Skinner is an important new writer."-- Robert Olen Butler

"Like Ondaatje’s fiction, Skinner’s stories are riddled with an awareness of the political, cultural, and social milieu in which they are set. In fact, one of Skinner’s greatest strengths is his worldly perspective, which grounds his writing. Because he is an assiduous chronicler of authentic detail, his settings, whether representations of Chile or New Mexico, evoke the chaotic, haphazard nature of reality. They testify that the liveliest imaginings are those located closest to reality." -- PIF magazine