Martha K. Davis

Martha K. Davis is a writer, editor, and teacher living in San Diego. Her short stories and essays have appeared in River Styx, Stone Canoe, The Gay & Lesbian Review, StoryQuarterly, CALYX, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in fiction from Columbia University. Parts of Scissors, Paper, Stone were written during residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program.

All Books

Scissors, Paper, Stone

Martha K. Davis

Publication Date: April 16, 2018

$16.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 978-1-59709-046-9


What is family, and who gets to define it? In 1964, Catherine and Jonathan adopt an infant girl from Korea. This unconventional choice brings disapproval from Catherine’s family, which creates an even closer bond between her and her daughter. Narrated in alternating chapters by Catherine, her daughter Min, and Min’s best friend Laura, SCISSORS, PAPER, STONE spans twenty years of love, losses, and the complex realities of female relationships. By 1985, Catherine is living a risk-free life on her own accord, Laura is dating her way through college, and Min is a massage therapist who has come out as lesbian and is learning to embrace her Korean heritage. After Min and Laura take a summer road trip together, the shifts in their friendship force all three women to examine the assumptions they’ve been living by and to make choices about the roles they want to play in each other’s lives.


“With SCISSORS, PAPER, STONE, Martha K. Davis has given us an ambitious coming of (lesbian) age story that is a movingly honest inquiry into the messy, yet still beautiful, transmogrification of what it means to be a family in a post-WWII America ruptured by racism, homophobia, . . . and the generational divide. The character of Cathy, the idealistic and unsuspecting . . . mother of an adopted Korean child, is one for the ages: a vessel for all the good intentions and fumbling contradictions of her time.”—Celeste Gainey, author, the GAFFER, final judge for the 2016 Quill Award

“Martha K. Davis writes with rare insight and compassion about the evolving American family and the struggle to belong. SCISSORS, PAPER, STONE is a wise and affecting novel.”—Hilma Wolitzer, author of THE DOCTOR’S DAUGHTER AND AN AVAILABLE MAN