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 nondescript 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. This experimental work will appeal to readers of contemporary European fiction who enjoy fast-paced stories that focus on voice and ideas.
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
Mike Steeves attended King's College University 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 full-length book of fiction. Connect with Steeves on Twitter @SteevesMike.
Jacob Wren creates literature, performances and exhibitions. His books include Unrehearsed Beauty (1998), Families Are Formed Through Copulation (2007), and Revenge Fantasies of the Politically Dispossessed (2010). As co-artistic director of Montreal-based interdisciplinary group PME-ART, he co-created the performances En français comme en anglais, it’s easy to criticize (1998), and the HOSPITALITÉ / HOSPITALITY series including Individualism Was a Mistake (2008), The DJ Who Gave Too Much Information (2011), and Every Song I’ve Ever Written (2013). International collaborations include a stage adaptation of the 1954 Wolfgang Koeppen novel Der Tod in Rom (Sophiensaele, Berlin, 2007); An Anthology of Optimism (co-created with Pieter De Buysser / Campo, Ghent, 2008); Big Brother Where Art Thou? (a project entirely on Facebook, co-created with Lene Berg / OFFTA / PME-ART, 2011); and, No Double Life For The Wicked (co-created with Tori Kudo / The Museum of Art, Kochi, Japan, 2012.) Wren travels internationally with alarming frequency and frequently writes about contemporary art. Follow Wren at http://www.radicalcut.blogspot.com and http://jacobwren.tumblr.com.