Holding Still for as Long as Possible
In this robust, scruffy, elegantly plotted, and ultimately life-affirming novel, rising star Zoe Whittall presents a dazzling portrait of a generation we’ve rarely seen in literature the 25-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. With this extraordinary novel which...more
(ETA par. at end)
this is a self-consciously 20-something book in which life is lived mostly at night -- people work during the day but their workdays seem unimportant -- in a drifty sort of way, fueled by extravagant quantities of alcohol, constant personal interaction (conducted in person or through text messages) and very little sleep. the 20-somethingness is conveyed, i take, by the choppiness of the narrative, the characters' restless sexual lives, their promiscuity, their great reliance on...more
So opens a novel that is both timeless and contemporary, set in Toronto. If you suspect that this beginning does not foreshadow a serenely predictable death, you’d be right. This is a novel in which there’s always the possibility of violence and s...more
There's a long list of things I liked about this book. The narrative style isn't traditional or easy- there are three main characters, and they all take turns narrating- but Whittall...more
I don't really pay much attention before I buy a book. I don't really know the process that gets me to pick one up. I do know some bits of it like if I put it on the pile I probably won't buy it till someone gives me crap about the pile being too high, and god knows when I'll read it. But if I'm walking along and I see something and I think, "God I really need that book" not only will I buy it but I'll probably start reading it right away (With the exception being if I think that 4 times in on...more
It's an interesting story of Josh, Amy and Billy, each with their own demons and how they deal with them. Josh and Amy break up but are determined to remain friends. Billy and Maria have just broken up and are trying to remain friends. Tensions are added when Billy and Josh get together.
This story "happened" in my 'hood. They live and hang out not far from where I live which made it...more
The characters were so well developed, I felt like I was living their lives. All of them. Although Amy didn't have as much focus as Billy or Josh, it did seem towards the end that her narrative role was crucial in the overall scheme. Thi...more
The switch of focus from Josh to Billy seemed strange. While readers are under the impression Josh is the main character throughout, it shifts to Billy at the end. If this was done for a specific purpose, I missed it. To me, Josh is more interesting than Billy and her p...more
I bought this book for...more
Zoe's characters are queer people in their mid-twenties, floating around between parties, shit...more
The story focuses on three troubled young people: Billy, a former teen pop starlet who suffers from sever panic attacks; Josh, a paramedic whose ability to patch up injured patients parallels his inability to r...more
Like the title suggests, the plot doesn't move much. Instead, the inner thoughts of the three main characters are explored. I think I would have enjoyed Holding Still more if I had read this book in my twenties since it really concerns that generation trying to figure out how to grow up.
I really liked this story of 20-something gays living and loving in Toronto. One of the characters was a paramedic, and the parts about his work were well researched, interesting and full of details.
However, I really didn't like the ending and one of the sections in the book, so that's where the stars were lost for me. However, I would definitely pick up the next thing that Whittall writes. I love her sense of place and the details in her work.
That said: It's unobtrusively beautiful, and so very aware and emotionally true, and I have the feeling it's going to be one of those I reread, here and there when I'm feeling sad or strange, until it's battered.
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"My generation never had those, we just had babies and thought about killing them from time to time.”