Today is the US release of gay expat Steven Amsterdam's first novel What the Family Needed [Kindle], which has already been longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Prieze and has earned an A from Entertainment Weekly, whose reviewer said, ""Remarkable ... at once magical and very normal, a wishful fantasy about the strength it can take to love one's family members well."
"What the Family Needed is a wonderful novel: imaginative, intelligent, empathetic. It's like a cross between The Corrections and The Slap, except without any of the gloom or rage and with the addition of something that may or may not be either a form of magic realism or simply that old staple of the literary art, metaphor." -Sydney Morning Herald
"Every now and then, a novel arrives that conveys not only wisdom and understanding but also offers a dose of magic. Part fable, part dreamscape, part family drama, What the Family Needed can be read in several ways. Some of the delight is that nothing is lost in choosing one way over another; in fact, each reading contains all other possible readings." -Brisbane Courier Mail
"Amsterdam has a gift for switching reality about: in his sharp and engaging fiction, life seems ordinary but radically unsettling. It's not even clear what species of fiction we are dealing with... Exhilarating." -The Australian
In last year's Thebes' queer lit poll, Neel Mukherjee called it "a smart, magical (literally), wry mosaic of a novel about the bonds that constitute a family. His angle of vision is new and the resulting work witty, fresh and original."
A native New Yorker, Amsterdam has lived in Melbourne for 10 years. Tonight he reads at Three Lives.