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Scissors, Paper, Rock: A Novel

by Fenton Johnson

Availablepaperback$21.95 978-0-8131-6656-8
Kentucky Voices
274 pages  Pubdate: 02/09/2016  5.5 x 8.5  

Along with his siblings, Raphael Hardin left his childhood home in rural Kentucky. Grappling with an AIDS diagnosis, he returns to care for his dying father. Told from the perspectives of Raphael, his family, and their lifelong neighbor, Fenton Johnson’s landmark novel reveals the blood struggles and binding loves of a broken family made whole.

Fenton Johnson is the author of award-winning fiction and literary nonfiction, including the novels Crossing the River and The Man Who Loved Birds, as well as Keeping Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey among Christian and Buddhist Monks and Geography of the Heart: A Memoir. He is associate professor of creative writing at the University of Arizona and teaches in the MFA program at Spalding University in Louisville.

Memory, love, grief, death and desire: these are the stuff of Fenton Johnson’s . . . powerfully moving novel. -- New York Times Book Review

The emotional power of Scissors, Paper, Rock resides on a plot of land in Kentucky. . . . [It] chronicles the courtships, the births, the deaths and the agonizing disappointments of two generations of the Hardins of Strang Knob . . . Scissors, Paper, Rock is a seductive rumination on the ways that memory can torment or soothe, and sometimes do both at the same time. -- San Francisco Chronicle

Read the eleven brief pieces of this brilliant novel and you’ll never again hear its title phrase without feeling chills. . . . Emotional jolts lurk on every page. . . . Every few pages you’ll pause, realizing you’ve just read one of the best paragraphs you’ve ever come across. Yes, the book’s about dying, but in the same way that birthday parties are about growing old. -- Entertainment Weekly

I finished Scissors, Paper, Rock in an unstoppable burst of enthralled reading last night. It is a wonderful book. -- Richard Howard, poet and professor of creative writing, Columbia University