Tag: Amsterdam

Things We Didn't See Coming IV – Steven Amsterdam

You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning to pull one over on the characters in the story Cake Walk, the fourth short story in Things We Didn’t See Coming by Steven Amsterdam. This book is coming to book stores in February of 2009, but if you’ve been following things around here, I’ve been giving a little taste of the each story. It’s important to look at the collection as a whole and each of the individual stories as chiseled pieces of stone, each their own work of art.

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Things We Didn't See Coming III, Steven Amsterdam

The same tone in the first two stories continues here, with the narrator well worn, but still surging forward towards some unseen promise of redemption. Will he manage to get people out of their houses and to safety? It’s not possible, but plausible. We meet a mother and daughter who seem more desperate than they look, and mom decides that our hero needs a little love. It’s a chiseled interior at this point, and we’re really only seeing what we need to see, it’s tight story that shows incredible discipline.

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Things We Didn't See Coming, II – Steve Amsterdam

There is a fantastic section where Grandma convinces the border guard at the blockade to let them drive out to the country. It’s one of those moments where you don’t know if she will talk herself out of getting past the guard or she will actually make it. Through a young man’s eyes we see the world that doesn’t give a shit about anyone. That’s a very rare gift to give the reader. There is a ripple of the surroundings, just a taste, meaning we are going to get more, and it will get worse before it gets better.

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Things We Didn't See Coming – Steven Amsterdam

I’m stunned at the amount of collections that make their way out into the world, especially interconnected collections. Every agent and editor worth their salt has told me that collections don’t sell. Funny, I see a half dozen from every major publisher three times a year, so something ain’t right. Sure, collections are always followed by a novel, and when the writer was signed on, he or she handed in that novel too, but what writer working today doesn’t have at least two or three novels in a drawer?

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