Sometimes your own family isn’t enough.
Growing up different is never easy, but Michael, a deaf young man from a small town, knows that he must find his true family beyond his biological one. He struggles and fails to find others of his kind until he attends college in New York City.
There, we meet a variety of people from a deaf gay family of sorts: Eddie, an older accountant aching for love; Lee, an effeminate dishwasher with a pronounced weakness for red-haired men; Vince, a charismatic dancer who lives intensely no matter the state of his health; Neil, a brooding woodcarver who becomes a deaf woman’s obsession; Stan, a lanky stock boy at the A&P on Christopher Street; Ted, a hard of hearing college student with ambivalent feelings about the deaf community; and Rex, an ASL interpreter who avoids his own emotions during the early days of the AIDS epidemic.
It is through these people that Michael, no longer a smalltown boy, begins to create a new family of his own. Taking place from 1978 to 2003, his story will open your eyes and heart to what it means to be different in an indifferent world.
Over 20 years in the making, the novel was also a first-place grant recipient from the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation for Full-Length Fiction 2003. Since 1991, fourteen of its chapters have appeared in various journals and anthologies such as BLOOM and Men on Men 4: Best New Gay Fiction. One of its chapters, “Interpretations,” was chosen as one of the Best Gay Stories 2008 (Lethe Press). Two of its chapters were also adapted and performed as stage monologues.
Raymond Luczak is the author and editor of over ten books, including Assembly Required: Notes from a Deaf Gay Life and Mute: Poems. Ever since his breakthrough Christopher Street magazine essay “Notes of a Deaf Gay Writer” in December 1990, he has gone on to edit two anthologies about the Deaf GLBT community: Eyes of Desire: A Deaf Gay & Lesbian Reader and Eyes of Desire 2: A Deaf GLBT Reader. His work has appeared in over ten anthologies and many periodicals. As a playwright, he has seen sixteen of his stage plays performed in three countries; four of them were collected in Whispers of a Savage Sort and Other Plays about the Deaf American Experience. As a filmmaker, Luczak has directed the full-length documentaries Guy Wonder: Stories & Artwork and Nathie: No Hand-Me-Downs. He has collaborated with the renowned storyteller Manny Hernandez on their DVDs Manny ASL: Stories in American Sign Language and Manny: ASL for a Better Life. He resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His web site is www.raymondluczak.com.
“Luczak’s style has a grace, clarity and knowingness all its own. It’s honest and true, and it hits home… Luczak’s work speaks for itself, and anyone who’s interested in getting a glimpse into another world and a different, yet similar culture will find Men With Their Hands to be a fascinating, engaging read.” —Out In Print [complete review]