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Things We Didn’t See Coming

by Steven Amsterdam

This title is no longer for sale from Sleepers Publishing.

  • Age Book of the Year winner 
  • NSW Premier’s Literary Award shortlist
  • Guardian First Book Award longlist
  • VCE English reading list 2011, 2012 and 2013

It’s the anxious eve of the millennium. The car is packed to capacity, and as midnight approaches, a family flees the city in a fit of panic and paranoid, conflicting emotions.

‘I’ll get fired.’

‘No one will know.’

‘Central will find out.’

‘Anything named Central doesn’t even know what you look like. I do, and I’m watching you to see that you make the right decision here.’

He waved us through.

“FIVE STARS. This is the first novel released by Sleepers Publishing… and an inspired choice. Things We Didn’t See Coming is an assured piece of writing by Amsterdam, and will appeal to lovers of good literary fiction.” – Bookseller and Publisher

“Bold, original and sneakily affecting, Things We Didn’t See Comingis about keeping your head in the midst of an apocalypse and how to make a decent life out of whatever’s left over. It’s about finding something to cling to when everything around you falls apart, and then finding a way to let go of even that. And it’s about accepting that it’s all going to end and striving to connect, to love and be loved anyway.” – Emily Maguire

“Celebrate. Here is a voice both authentic and absorbing. A brilliant choice for Sleepers’ first venture into the novel.” – Helen Elliott

“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.” —Washington Post

“A smart, snappy collection of Apoca-lit now… It’s a clever structure and Amsterdam works it fabulously well.” — Pop Matters

“A treat to read—playful, intelligent, and intriguing.” – Daily Mail

“Moving and poetic” – The Scotsman Book Supplement

“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.” — 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.” — Sunday Times (London)

“Disturbing and deeply smart… darkly comic and full of surprises.” — Time Out New York

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