From the backdrop of an impoverished steel-working community in working class Hamilton Ontario in the 1970's, To Refrain From Embracing follows the trials faced by a small family after a suicide-attempt results in 38-year-old veteran Ted being checked into the Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital. His wife Gloria struggles with family finances and growing worries related to the well-being of their 10-year old son Josh while also re-embracing of her Indigenous identity begins to grow through encounters with a local steelworker and remembrances of her mother.
Josh meanwhile, struggles with his nascent sexuality, lack of acceptance from his peers, and fears about his father's mental health, all while entering into a friendship with a troubled neighbourhood teen.
To Refrain From Embracing is an immersive, naturalistic, and at times darkly comedic exploration of a family pushed up against personal and societal precepts of class, race, and sexuality.
Called “one of LGBT fiction's brightest new stars? by The Huffington Post, Jeffrey Luscombe was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. He holds a BA and MA in English from the University of Toronto and attended the Humber College School for Writers where he was mentored by Nino Ricci and Lauren B. Davis. In 2010 he was shortlisted for the Prism International Fiction Prize. In 2013 he was shortlisted for the Kerry Schooley Award by the Hamilton Arts Council for his debut novel, Shirts and Skins. He currently lives in Toronto with his husband, Sean.