Scissors, Paper, Rock is a novel written by Fenton Johnson. It was first published in 1994.
For the first time since he left his birthplace in Kentucky for San Francisco, Raphael Hardin has returned home alone. Before, he had always brought men with him on his visits, lovers with whom his mother had been “civil, even flirtatious,” while his father retreated into his sacred woodshop. Now his mother has died and, at age thirty-six, Raphael has come back to see his dying father, who knows and disapproves of Raphael’s boyfriends but who is unaware that this, his youngest child, may be ill as well. Raphael’s halting, often painful attempt to reconcile with his father forms the centerpiece of Fenton Johnson’s astonishing novel. At times funny, at times heartbreakingly poignant, Scissors, Paper, Rock explores with wisdom and humor the many kinds of family, the infinite varieties of love. Through the intricately interwoven stories of the Hardin parents and children, Scissors, Paper, Rock contrasts the families we inherit — our blood ties — with the families we choose, our partners in love and our friends.