May 30, 2024:

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Holden After and Before

Holden After and Before

Holden After and Before

Holden After and Before is a moving meditation on grief in the same vein as Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk: a stunning book that traces Tara McGuire’s excavation and documentation of the life path of her son Holden, a graffiti artist who died of an accidental opioid overdose at the age of twenty-one. Beginning with Holden’s death and leaping through time and space, McGuire employs fact, investigation, memory, fantasy, and even fabrication in her search for understanding not only of her son’s tragic death, but also of his beautiful life. She navigates and writes across the many blank spaces to form a story of discovery and humanity, examining themes of grief, pain, mental illness, trauma, creative expression, identity, and deep, unending love inside just one of the thousands of deaths that have occurred as a result of the opioid crisis.

With poignant honesty and a heart laid bare, Holden After and Before is a beautiful and moving elegy to a son lost to overdose.

About the author

Tara McGuire

Tara McGuire

Tara McGuire is a former broadcaster (aka annoying morning show host) turned writer whose essays and poetry have appeared on CBC radio, in several magazines (and yesterday’s Globe and Mail), and have been shortlisted for the Writers Union of Canada Short Prose Competition for Emerging Writers in 2018 and 2020 and Room Magazine’s 2021 CNF Contest. She is a graduate of The Writers Studio at SFU and holds an MFA from The UBC School of Creative Writing. She lives in North Van with her family and their non-binary dog Jo.

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