Opening on the eve of the millennium, when the world as we know it is still recognisable, we meet the nine-year-old narrator as he flees the city with his parents, just ahead of a Y2K breakdown.
Next he is a teenager with a growing criminal record, taking his grandparents for a Sunday drive. In a world transformed by battles over resources, he teaches them how to steal.
In time we see him struggle through strange, horrific and unexpectedly funny terrain as he goes about the no longer simple act of survival. Despite the chaos of his world, he keeps his eyes on the exit door, his heart open and his mind on what he thinks is going to happen next.
"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
"There is much here that points to a bright future." - Independent
"Rarely has the darkness of life been looked at with such buoyant irony, imaginative grace and disarming candour." - Irish Times
"Even if Amsterdam’s futuristic stuff proves to be wrong, he has got the sappy stuff – the emotional intelligence – dead right." - The Times
"The book as a whole is a small marvel, overflowing with ideas. 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." - Guardian
"Frightening, beautiful and funny." - Evie Wyld
"Disturbing and deeply smart. Darkly comic and full of surprises." - Time Out New York