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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Nearly a decade ago, feelings of dread at the turn of the millennium were commonplace. Now we smile to think how we navigated that passage, our fears a dim memory. In Amsterdam’s linked collection, nine haunting stories chronicle an unnamed narrator’s 30-year journey through a dystopian wasteland in the wake of a Y2K meltdown.
Opening on the eve of the new century, we meet our nine-year-old narrator as he helps his father pack the car. Certain of the coming apocalypse, they’re fleeing the city. We follow him as he grows older and makes his way through a hostile landscape that regularly threatens his survival and becomes only more savage and foreign as time passes. Assuming a myriad of changing roles — driver for an impulsively planned picnic; government employee charged with protecting squatters from an imminent flood; unwilling host to a man stricken with an unspecified contagion; and reluctant tour guide for the terminally ill —the narrator becomes our Virgil, our Dante.
The arc of these stories – from the alarmingly familiar to the deeply unsettling – is subtle, and it is but a short, imaginative leap from the opening pages and the threat of a computer error to an ending fraught with famine, anarchy, and bewilderment. Filled with dark humor and uncommon creativity, Things We Didn’t See Coming records a harrowing journey rendered brilliantly by a remarkable and gifted new voice.