Maria "Pagan" Miranda Flores leaves her home in California, her lover, and her job to journey to Goa, India, where her grandmother, Dona Gabriela, lies on her deathbed. As she reacquaints herself with her toots, old relationships--and disaffections-- are revived. She is drawn into the rhythm of life in the village that she knew as a child and into the stories of her old ayah, Esperanca.
In Esperanca's strange and haunting tales, reality and fantasy overlap in a grand narrative of greed, passion, and memory. Pagan learns of an iron-willed matriarch who manipulated her children and their love to preserve appearances, of a slave-runner destroyed by his own ambition, and of a nexus of powerful women who kept alive the traditions of their African tribe in the midst of degradation.
Skin is a Diasporic novel that addresses the issue of ethnic identity and the effects/remnants of Portuguese Colonialism and the slave trade in India through a tapestry of tales that spans three continents and several generations.