Books and Ideas at Montalto
View all episodes in this series
Since his 2009 debut, Things We Didn’t See Coming, Steven Amsterdam has established himself as a writer who startles and surprises.
His first book – an apocalyptic work fusing literary and climate-change fiction – earned him comparisons to Cormac McCarthy. His follow-up book, What the Family Needed, also frustrated conventions of form and genre, but diverged dramatically from its precursor on subject matter: from ecological disaster to family dynamics. Amsterdam is an author with an unusual combination of qualities. His writing is warm, playful … and ominous.
Perhaps this is partly because Amsterdam moves between parallel lives. Aside from writing, he works in an entirely different field – as a palliative care nurse. His new novel, The Easy Way Out, draws heavily from this line of work, tackling the big subjects: death, personal morality and assisted suicide.
This singular writer joins his former publisher, Louise Swinn, for a discussion about double lives, family dynamics and matters of life and death.
Books and Ideas at Montalto series sound design and music: Jon Tjhia.