Winner of THE AGE BOOK OF THE YEAR 2009.
'...the book as a whole is a small marvel, overflowing with ideas. Scary, funny, shocking and touching by turns, it combines the readerly pleasures of constant reorientation with the sober charge of an urgent warning. ..' - The Guardian
We think we've seen it all before, but the future still arrives without warning.
For the wry narrator of this riveting journey, each shift brings him somewhere new-he's protecting his grandparents from the world outside their city gates; he's evacuating squatters before the rains wash away everything; he's enjoying a senator's coddled enclave in the hills; he's being stalked up a tree by a plague survivor; he's negotiating love with a woman who is far tougher than he could ever be; he's leading adventure tours for the terminally ill. Despite the permanent emergency of the landscape, this fractured evolution feels anything but grim-instead, it reveals what it means to survive.
"Preternaturally assured, finely crafted and thoroughly accomplished, it deserves to be read widely."
-The Age (Melbourne)
"The book as a whole is a small marvel, overflowing with ideas. Scary, funny, shocking and touching by turns, it combines the readerly pleasures of constant reorientation with the sober charge of an urgent warning. Things We Didn't See Coming refracts our life-and-death fears through those moments of human contact where they are most keenly felt; some of those fears are eternal, some shockingly new." - The Guardian
"Breathtakingly strange...Things We Didn't See Coming is the kind of book that can inspire us to think differently about the world and entertain us at the same time." - The Washington Post
"A treat to read-playful, intelligent, and intriguing." - The Daily Mail
"There is a satisfying tingle in imagining an Armageddon just round the corner. But Amsterdam also gives his book an emotional heart; it lies in the contrast between the narrator's very ordinary emotions - jealousy, fear, the desire to belong - and his extraordinary circumstances... A memorable debut." - The Financial Times
"Even in the blackest scenes Amsterdam's gift for mordant humour keeps the reader entertained and depression at bay... What makes Things We Didn't See Coming such an impressive novel-and very impressive debut-is the playfulness of the writing contrasted to the grimness of the subject matter. In Amsterdam's hands the apocalypse sounds like it might be fun." - The Sunday Times (London)
"Disturbing and deeply smart ... darkly comic and full of surprises." - Time Out New York
" Fantastic and gripping and utterly original... Abstract and philosophical, this book is a journey towards acceptance of many things, including death, all considered through a series of set pieces. The narrative pulls you in and then darts off. It is a maze, an adventure, a lesson, a lament. Read it once and then read it twice, often... Rarely has the darkness of life been looked at with such buoyant irony, imaginative grace and disarming candour." - The Irish Times
"Don't read this book in bed unless you want to stay up past your bedtime thrilled by the discovery of a new writer. . . . [A] stunning read." - The Millions
Steven Amsterdam is the award-winning author of THINGS WE DIDN'T SEE COMING (winner of the AGE BOOK OF THE YEAR, shortlisted for the NSW Premier's Award for Fiction and longlisted for The Guardian First Book Award) and WHAT THE FAMILY NEEDED (AWW Great Read and longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC literary award). He lives in Melbourne with his partner where he works as a palliative care nurse.