Whittall's territory in Holding Still for as Long as Possible is not the complex system of relationships among Toronto's artsy set. Rather, it is an exploration of the emotional complexities within the main characters, and how they manifest when they're alone and in the company of others. The novel is broken into sections narrated by Josh, Amy and Billy, allowing for often disturbingly intimate insights. Everything is on the table, from questions of gender and sexual orientation to depressions both clinical and romantic, from the legacy of early fame to the repercussions of childhood neglect. It's a harrowing, utterly compelling read.
It's also a misleading read. Much will be made of the age of the characters, and the times in which they live. Yes, these are young people living in an accelerated culture, but the questions they face, the struggles they endure, are as timeless as the sound of the breath of the person sleeping next to you, as fundamentally human as the broken bodies Josh faces every day. Holding Still for as Long as Possible isn't about texting and IMing and the glib surfaces of the dialogue, it's about the pulpy, bleeding depths of the heart and soul.
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