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 a 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.
Mike Steeves attended University of King’s College in Halifax, where he received a BA in Political Science and English Literature. He completed an MA in English Literature at Concordia University. Steeves lives with his wife and child in Montreal, and works at Concordia University. Giving Up is his first novel. It was a finalist for the 2015 Concordia University First Book Award and was selected by the National Post as a best book of 2015.
“Mike Steeves is a brilliant, singular voice in Can Lit: funny and fresh and fast! Giving Up burns and glows with the intensity of a blue flame and all the pathos and obsessiveness and truth and absurdity of modern coupledom.” — Miriam Toews, author of All My Puny Sorrows and A Complicated Kindness
“Mike Steeves has written a wonderful work of fiction that explores modern coupledom in profound, moving and hilarious ways.” — The Globe and Mail
“Steeves’ tone shifts between hilarious and heartbreaking so often and so smoothly that eventually Giving Up inhabits a place where you can hardly distinguish between the two. It’s quite a feat.” — Montreal Gazette
“Giving up never felt so right.” — Montreal Review of Books