The Skin Of The Sky
The Skin of the Sky is a fictionalized biography of Mexican astronomer Lorenzo de Tena. Beginning in the 1930s, Florencia, Lorenzo’s mother, instills the wonder of science in her eldest son at an early age, though she herself has no formal education. But Lorenzo also learns that he and his four siblings are the illegitimate children of a Mexican businessman who will never acknowledge their paternity.
The de Tena children must meet the reality quickly when Florencia dies suddenly and they are sent away to live, as “orphans,” with their father. Lorenzo and his brother, Juan, rebel. Lorenzo’s protestations are not as marked as Juan’s, for the younger brother leaves the influence of his father’s house. Lorenzo remains, going through the motions toward a career in law.
It isn’t until he renounces the path chosen by his father’s family that Lorenzo can identify a direction for his life. He wants to change Mexico, to educate the people so they can rise from poverty but is unable to do that within the prevailing system. When he meets someone who offers him an opportunity to explore the wonders of the cosmos he excels, easily entering philosophical discussions with educated scientists, and securing his way to further education, even finding – briefly – love.
Lorenzo’s story unfolds in a simple style, revealing a complicated individual. His early rebellion serves only to identify what he doesn’t want rather than to focus him toward a goal. Juan too suffers – a near intellectual equal to Lorenzo, he shuts out the world, finding his fortunes more dismal than his brother’s as his business ventures fail and his mistrust grows. But Lorenzo finds fulfillment, at least through his career – his life is a fascinating journey.