Things We Didn't See Coming

by Steven Amsterdam

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Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2010.


A look at a possible cataclysmic world filled with disasters - natural and man made. Beginning with the Millennium Bug we follow our protagonist as a nine year old growing up in a world lurching from one problem to the next. Although looking at a future that could have been if YK2 had happened it is constantly reminding us that just because we didn’t get that prediction right there are many more that could become reality. A thought provoking debut.

Things We Didn't See Coming Synopsis

Richly imagined, dark, and darkly comic, Things We Didn't See Coming follows a man over three decades as he tries to survive - and to retain his humanity - in a world savaged by successive cataclysmic events. Opening on the eve of the millennium, when the world as we know it is still recognisable, we meet the then nine-year-old narrator fleeing the city with his parents, just ahead of a Y2K breakdown of the grid which signals the world's transformation and decline. In the wake of this develop strange, sometimes horrific, sometimes unexpectedly funny circumstances as he goes about the no longer simple act of survival: trying to protect squatters against floods in a place where the rains never stop; harrassed (and possibly infected) by a man wracked with plague; functioning as a salaried embezzler of 'the state'; and escorting the gravely ill on adventure trips. Yet despite the violence and brutality of these days, we learn that even as the world is spinning out of control essential human impulses still hold sway - that we never entirely escape our parents, envy the success of those around us and, chiefly, that we crave love. Things We Didn't See Coming is haunting, vividly imagined and beautifully crafted.A stunning debut.

Win a signed copy of The Ghost Tree

Win a signed copy of The Ghost Tree

Closing date: 07/09/2018

Barbara Erskine's fabulous new book The Ghost Tree is out on the 23rd August. In order to celebrate we are giving away a SIGNED copy of the new book to THREE lucky winners!! The competiton closes on the 7th Septmber 2018. The winner will be informed by the 17th September 2018. The past is about to become the present... The inspiration for The Ghost Tree lies in Barbara Erskine's own personal history - branching back to the days of Thomas Erskine, her great grandfather, five times removed. Once again, the Sunday Times bestselling author brings the past to life in vivid, spellbinding colour. 

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781846553660
Publication date: 05/08/2010
Publisher: Harvill Secker an imprint of CCV
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781846553660
Publication date: 5th August 2010
Author: Steven Amsterdam
Publisher: Harvill Secker an imprint of CCV
Format: Paperback
Genres: Debuts of the Month, eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction,

About Steven Amsterdam

Steven Amsterdam, a native New Yorker, works as a psychiatric nurse in Melbourne, Australia.

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