March 2016, Liveright –
Maya Taylor, an intense, gifted English professor, has a tendency to retreat when she is needed most, escaping on long morning runs or finding comfort in the well-thumbed novels in her library. But when she sends her daughter to Florida to care for a friend’s child, it’s with the best of intentions. Twenty and spiraling, Ellie is lost in a fog of drugs and men- desperately in need of a fresh start. Her life with this attractive new family in Florida begins well, but Ellie is crippled by fear that she’ll only disappoint those around her…again. Finally, in the sprawling hours of one humid afternoon, she makes a mistake that she cannot take back.
The accident hangs over both mother and daughter as they try to repair their fractured relationship and find a way to transcend not only their differences, but also their more startling similarities. In Maya and Ellie’s echoing narratives, Strong creates a searing, unforgettable portrait of familial love and the tender heartache of motherhood—from the sweltering Florida heat to the bone-cold of New York in January. Churning towards one fateful day in two separate timelines, Hold Still is a story of before and after and the impossible distance between.
Heralding the arrival of a profoundly moving new talent, this novel marks a taut and propulsive debut that “builds to a perfect crescendo, an ending that is both surprising and true” (Marcy Dermansky). Hold Still explores the weight of culpability and the depths and limits of a mother’s love.
“Lynn Steger Strong has a great eye for the visible world, a near perfect sensor for those of us living in it, and a deep compassion and curiosity for how we go astray and find ourselves again.” – Richard Ford
“Lynn Strong’s captivating novel explores questions of blame and guilt from many points of view, all of them rendered with tenderness, compassion, and surprising humor. A little bit Lionel Shriver, a little bit Virigina Woolf. Hold Still is a terrific debut.” –Victor LaValle, author of The Devil in Silver
“A moving novel that looks, with warmth and sadness, at the binding chaos that is family love.” –Rivka Galchen, author of American Innovations and Atmospheric Disturbances
“Lynn Steger Strong paints a portrait of familial love that is real, visceral, and all the more dangerous for being unconditional.” –Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine
“Hold Still is an unblinking examination of family, the mother-child bond, and the storms it must withstand. Lynn Strong pulls no punches in considering not just how deep, but also how misguided a mother’s love can be.”—Elisa Albert, author of After Birth
“How do you forgive your child after she does the unthinkable? How can you not? Hold Still quietly builds to a perfect crescendo, an ending that is both surprising and true.” –Marcy Dermansky, author of Bad Marie
“Strong has produced a family saga both familiar and strange, told in kaleidoscopic detail, dancing back and forth in time, balletically slow yet always knife tight, philosophical, interrogative and smart. I read with my heart in my throat.” –Rufi Thorpe, author of The Girls from Corona del Mar
“Lynn Strong is clearly a spy. The espionage-level attention paid to the most seemingly invisible things and words and gestures that comprise the world, well, I feel like Strong broke a code that nobody else has broken. She allows us to better understand what we often see but fail to fully comprehend.” –Heidi Julavits, author of The Folded Clock