Steven Amsterdam Interview and Review

Steven Amsterdam, author of Things We Didn't See Coming, is interviewed by Kevin Rabalais for the "Readings" weblog.

Things We Didn't See Coming, Amsterdam's debut novel, is that all-too-rare book that will incite a cult following, while simultaneously welcoming popular appeal. This is fiction of high order, and in it Amsterdam establishes himself as a writer of great vision and compassion.

The novel begins on New Year's Eve 1999. As Y2K fears escalate, the nameless narrator, aged ten in the first chapter, flees an anonymous city with his parents to hole up at his grandparents' house in the country. In the ensuing chapters, Amsterdam tracks his narrator through an unspecified country that has been ravaged by plague, drought, fires and floods. There are barricades and quarantines.Wars rage across the country's desolate landscape. Amsterdam invents horses that are bred to ride on water after the melting of the ice caps and throws in a fair share of sex, drugs and guns. This is the Wild West without cowboy hats, science fiction without the science, some kind of radical and daring offspring of Cormac McCarthy and Philip K. Dick.

The first review of the book I've seen is by Angela Meyer on the "LiteraryMinded" weblog, who says:
Things We Didn't See Coming is a series of vignettes, from different stages of the unnamed protagonist's life in a dystopian alterno-present/future. It is a post-apocalyptic story, but told in a hard-boiled, yet highly resonant literary style. The sentences are sharp, the character is hard and the environment is one of rapid change and ruin -- but throughout there is also deep resistance. The book acts to massage you at your core, and every secondary character met along the way (no matter how fleeting) leaves a poignant stain on character and reader. They are examples from all of humanity's shredded social standings -- how different people would deal with natural disasters, segregation (between urban and land environments), political situations (and radical politics), survival against disease, and more.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 5, 2009 2:23 PM.

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