On the Up
“By reading Style magazine, I was training myself not to want things. It was going quite well. I had already found that I did not want a pair of Yves Saint Laurent mules, a chandelier made from plastic antlers, or a diamond-encrusted necklace in the shape of a pineapple. I was still working on not wanting a fitted farmhouse kitchen in warm wood. “
Sylvia lives in a flat on a council estate with her not-quite-husband Obe and their two young children. She dreams of buying a house on a leafy street like the one she grew up in. If she closes her eyes, she can see it all so clearly: the stripped floorboards, the wisteria growing around the door…
It’s not ideal that she’s about to be made redundant, or that Obe, a playworker, is never going to earn more than the minimum wage. As sleep deprivation sets in, and the RnB downstairs gets ever louder, Sylvia’s life starts to unravel.
But when the estate is earmarked for redevelopment, the threat to her community gives Sylvia a renewed sense of purpose. With a bit of help from her activist sister, and her film-maker friend Frankie, she’s ready to take a stand for what she believes in.
Warm, witty and brilliantly observed, On the Up is about relationships and families, finding a way through the tough times, and figuring out what’s really worth fighting for.
‘Funny and well observed, this timely novel explores the isolation of new motherhood O’Keeffe examines themes of class, race, privilege and gender with a deft touch which will speak loudly to a certain generation. I loved this book.’ CLOVER STROUD, AUTHOR OF MY WILD AND SLEEPLESS NIGHTS
‘A warm-hearted and entertaining debut’ HANNAH BECKERMAN, OBSERVER
‘A poignant tale of modern family life’ WOMAN & HOME
‘On the Up is a gem of a novel that holds up a mirror to the way we live now.’ RED
‘Funny and compassionate’ NEW STATESMAN
‘Funny and real, this is a blast of fresh air.’ FABULOUS
‘An uplifting debut.’ HELLO
‘I love the way this book makes the domestic political, and vice versa’ POLLY SAMSON
‘An intimate exploration of womanhood and the idea of home and belonging. Funny, melancholic, and full of warmth’ XIAOLU GUO
‘[Alice writes] really well about the frustrations of not having much money in a culture that is geared towards those that have it all. It’s not a topic we see a lot of in contemporary fiction and I found it very refreshing to see it tackled here.’ LAURA BARNETT author of The Versions of Us
‘I love this book. Funny, heart-felt and poignant. It reflects perfectly the experiences of a generation that doesn’t ever seem to have as much time, or money, as our parents had.’ TOBIAS JONES
‘an uplifting book about persevering through the tough times … an amazing debut.’ YAHOO