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John Thorndike read a thousand novels as a child and always wanted to write one. After four desperate years at a New England prep school, he went to Harvard, studied night and day, wrote some fiction, took an MA at Columbia, then lit out for Latin America. He spent two years in the Peace Corps in El Salvador and two, with his wife, on a backcountry farm in Chile. Eventually he settled with his son in Athens, Ohio, where for ten years his day job was farming. Then it was construction, but always he wrote. His first two books were novels, Anna Delaney’s Child and The Potato Baron. His first memoir, Another Way Home, speaks of his wife’s schizophrenia and his life as a single parent. His second, The Last of His Mind, chronicles his father’s year-long descent into Alzheimer’s. The Washington Post named this a Best Book of 2009, and Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, called it “a beautiful book.” Thorndike’s latest novel, A Hundred Fires in Cuba, is set in Havana and Miami during the early years of the Cuban Revolution, and he’s at work on the next, a half-fictional evocation of his mother’s life.