What is it like to grow into adulthood with the war on terror as your defining political memory, with SARS and Hurricane Katrina as your backdrop? In this robust, elegantly plotted, and ultimately life-affirming novel, Zoe Whittall presents a dazzling portrait of a generation we've rarely seen in literature -- the twenty-five-year olds who grew up on anti-anxiety meds, text-messaging each other truncated emotional reactions, unsure of what's public and what's private.
Zoe Whittall fulfills the promise of her acclaimed first novel, Bottle Rocket Hearts, with this extraordinary novel set in Toronto's seedy-but-gentrifying Parkdale. Revolving around three interlocking lives, it offers, among other things, a detailed inside look at the work of paramedics, and entertaining celebrity gossip.
Zoe Whittall is the author of The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life (2001), The Emily Valentine Poems (2006), and Precordial Thump (2008), and the editor of Geeks, Misfits, & Outlaws (2003). Her debut novel Bottle Rocket Hearts (2007) made the Globe and Mail Top 100 Books of the Year and CBC Canada Reads’ Top Ten Essential Novels of the Decade. Her second novel Holding Still for as Long as Possible (2009) won a Lambda Literary Award and was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. Her writing has appeared in the Walrus, the Believer, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Fashion, and more. She has also worked as a writer and story editor on the TV shows Degrassi and Schitt’s Creek. Born in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, she has an MFA from the University of Guelph and lives in Toronto.
Holding Still For As Long As Possible is a foul-mouthed, hard-drinking, casual-sexing book. At its heart, though, Whittall’s brilliantly simple novel is a good old-fashioned love story, charming and compelling. And it feels true.
...the talented young author strips away the technological facade and reveals what really goes on in the lives and minds of some of today's young adults...it's her gift for capturing the various anxieties and fears of this generation that leaves a lasting impression.
Readable and intelligent.
Holding Still for as Long as Possible is part of an exciting new wave of books highlighting trans characters without making their gender the book's primary focus . . . well-developed . . .
Holding Still holds an astonishingly astute mirror to a generation still struggling to define itself. A fine sophomore novel by one of Canada's most promising young writers.
With Holding Still, Whittall has established herself as a writer of immense vitality and courage; she stands as the voice of a lost, but thanks to her not forgotten generation: the boys and girls who will inherit the Earth.
Whittall's writing has a tremendous amount of youthful energy...This is a real Toronto story, set against SARS and fears about terrorism.
In Holding Still for as Long as Possible, the awareness of mortality intersects with the romantic restlessness of youth. It makes for a story whose vital signs are fully present and robust.
...Whittall is a writer of richly nuanced characters. There's not a flubbed note in any of the voices. Whittall has still made a grand entertainment out of everyday collisions.
All three characters are well crafted: at once unique, yet easily recognizable...Whittall never shies away from displaying their flaws or their problems...
...Whittall has an astounding command of language.
Like a seasoned paramedic of the soul Whittall cares for the vitality of her reader in an incompareably fearless fashion.
Whittall's writing is vibrant, funny, and smart. She uses the power of the pop culture reference responsibly; rather than inundate, she picks her spots with effective mentions from a delectably oddball arsenal that ranges from Waydowntown to Designing Women...this novel firmly pigeonholes her as a kick-ass writer.
An unforgettable depiction of growing up in the new millennium.
...a story that really speaks to the generation while offering some sage advice about living & there are moments of genuine, understated authenticity, especially in Whittall's depiction of complex human dynamics.
...Whittall is a dexterous puppeteer, and the book is unputdownable.
Breathless, jolting and sputtering with vitality, Holding Still For As Long As Possible explores the inevitable expiry date on lives and relationships, and our white-knuckle struggle to hang on to both.