At times funny, at other times sad, and more than often a mixture of the two, Giving Up by Mike Steeves is a deeply felt account of what goes on in the inner sanctum of the modern couple's apartment.
In grappling with the line between what happened and what might have happened, Steeves gives voice to the anguish of a generation of people who grew up with great expectations, and are now settling into their own personal failures and compromises: James is obsessed with completing his life's work. Mary is worried about their problems starting a family, and is scared that their future might not turn out as she'd planned. In the span of a few hours on an ordinary night in a non-descript city, two relatively small events will have enormous consequences on James' and Mary's lives, both together and apart.
With an unrelenting prose style and pitch-black humour, Giving Up addresses difficult topics—James's ruinous ambition, and Mary's quiet anguish—in a funny and relatable way.
Priase for Giving Up:
Few first novels in recent memory are as consistently charming, smart, entertaining and incisive as Giving Up. Somehow Mike Steeves has written a page-turner about stray cats and trips to the bank, and a story that treads through the banalities of everyday life with such precision to cast each detail, every gesture and object and silence, with great meaning.
– PASHA MALLA