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 Holding Still for as Long as Possible, which won the 2011 Lambda Literary Award and was an Honour Book for the American Library Association’s Stonewall Book Award. Her debut novel, Bottle Rocket Hearts, was named a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book and was one of CBC Canada Reads Top Ten Essential Novels of the decade. She won the Writers’ Trust Dayne Ogilvie Award in 2008. In 2010 she published a novella called The Middle Ground, a book for adults with low literacy skills. Whittall has also published three poetry collections and occasionally moonlights as a stand-up comic. She lives in Toronto.
...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.
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.
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.
An unforgettable depiction of growing up in the new millennium.
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 is a dexterous puppeteer, and the book is unputdownable.
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.
...Whittall has an astounding command of language.
Readable and intelligent.
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.
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.
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 . . .
Whittall's writing has a tremendous amount of youthful energy...This is a real Toronto story, set against SARS and fears about terrorism.
...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.
Whittall creates distinct characters and voices...An enjoyable read that is strong on character.
All three characters are well crafted: at once unique, yet easily recognizable...Whittall never shies away from displaying their flaws or their problems...
...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.