Best Indie Fiction of 2018–Kirkus Reviews
2019 Winner in Historical Fiction–Eric Hoffer Award
2019 Gold Medal Winner in Historical Fiction–Independent Publisher Book Awards
In the spring of 1956, a young American photographer falls in love with a Cuban line cook in New York. They have a ten-week affair which ends when Immigration arrests and deports him—but by then Clare Miller is pregnant. Few Americans know the name Camilo Cienfuegos. All Cubans do. In real life he was the most charismatic of Fidel Castro’s commanders, until his small plane vanished only months after Fidel came to power. In this novel, Clare must choose between the stable Cuban businessman she has married and her first love, Camilo. Though a true revolutionary, Camilo likes to dance and drink. He likes women, and too many women like him. His courage is legendary, yet when he comes to visit Clare he’s afraid of his own daughter and her moods. Clare worries that he’ll never make a good parent, but she cannot resist him.
“Thorndike weaves a complex love affair into one of the hemisphere’s great dramas, the Cuban Revolution. Evocative prose, timeless conflicts, and an intimate story full of surprises.” –Natalie Goldberg, author of Wild Mind and Let The Whole Thundering World Come Home“
Thorndike is a talented, experienced writer, and Clare and Camilo especially are fully developed, attractive characters…. A highly recommended rendering of a love affair and mysterious slice of Cuban history.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
In recognition of a novel I’ve been working on—it’s in the final stages, and my agent will be sending it out soon—the Ohio Arts Council has awarded me an Individual Excellence Award for FY 2020.
That’s the sober language of the OAC. I’d put it this way: Hooray! I’m pumped! The money is most welcome, and so is the recognition. I can write without that, of course, but how lovely to have it: how much easier it is to dive into the manuscript each morning, knowing that the OAC panelists found my chapters engaging.
And how well, year after year, the State of Ohio treats its writers, dancers, and artists of all kinds. Indeed, Ohio is one of the top ten states in Arts Council funding, and the OAC has been a wonderfully responsive organization for over fifty years, awarding grants to both artists and art organizations. (I’ve been awarded a couple of earlier grants by them, and for an account of the more recent, click on the Essays section of this website and read “The One One One Story.”)
Hey, I see that Athens poets Becca Lachman and Christina Veladota have also been awarded grants this year. Hooray! Good deal! And those are not their first, either. When they give their next readings, I’m going.