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Netherland by Joseph O'Neill


by Joseph O'Neill

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,0321442,940 (3.42)242
In a New York City made phantasmagorical by the events of 9/11, Hans -- a banker originally from the Netherlands -- finds himself marooned among the strange occupants of the Chelsea Hotel after his English wife and son return to London. Alone and untethered, feeling lost in the country he had come to regard as home, Hans stumbles upon the vibrant New York subculture of cricket, where he revisits his lost childhood and, thanks to a friendship with a charismatic and charming Trinidadian named Chuck Ramkissoon, begins to reconnect with his life and his adopted country.--From publisher description.… (more)
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» See also 242 mentions

English (138)  Dutch (4)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (144)
Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)
Netherland is one of those delightful novels that sweeps you into its world on the force of the author's beautiful use of language and narrative insight. Hans van den Brock is an alien in many senses. He is Dutch and living alone in New York City in 2006, as his wife, thrown by 9/11 and its aftermath, has taken the couple's young son and gone back to England, where she is from. Hans' sporting passion is cricket, and he soon gets involved with what he discovers to be a vibrant cricket scene in New York, playing as one of the only white men among a community of cricketers from the West Indies and South Asia. He soon makes the acquaintance of a forceful yet shadowing fellow, one Chuck Ramissoon, who is a-swirl with schemes and dreams and leaking knowledge on all sorts of subjects. The main theme, as I have noted, is alienation, but also perseverance in the face of sadness and loss. There are some passages that struck me so effectively that I went back and read them several times, and the plot moves along nicely, with swooping digressions and flashbacks that are seamless.

The book is not perfect, certainly. Hans is a bit too much of that common fictional character, the emotionally passive person to whom life just sort of happens without his willing it. He is perceptive, so he can describe it well, but he's almost never in control. Also, the side theme of the cultural and national tapestry that is New York City seems a bit overdone to me. Just about every third world nationality is eventually mentioned, either on a cricket pitch or in a taxi cab, or in a restaurant or party. When Hans hails a ride from a Kyrgyz cabbie, I thought, "OK, I get it, already."

But those are relatively minor quibbles. This book won the PEN/Faulkner Award and I can see why. It provides a very rewarding and enjoyable reading experience. ( )
  rocketjk | Apr 18, 2019 |
I've got mixed feelings on this one... Some moments of brilliance, but other times it was scattered and hard to follow. Not an easy read regardless. The story was also rather ordinary, don't expect an epic adventure here, but simply a story about a dutch/english immigrant who spends some time in NYC. ( )
  snotbottom | Sep 19, 2018 |
This book, for me, was basically the reading equivalent of watching a cricket match. It might make sense to someone, but that someone is not me. If I wasn't reading this for book discussion, I definitely wouldn't have finished it.
  photonegative | May 10, 2018 |
2002: il matrimonio di Hans van den Broek, analista di borsa a New York, entra in crisi e la moglie torna a Londra portandosi dietro il loro bambino. Rimasto solo, nel limbo della suite dello Hotel Chelsea dove la famiglia si era trasferita dopo l’11 settembre, vagabondando per la città Hans riscopre il cricket, lo sport che aveva praticato da ragazzo nella natia Olanda. Quello praticato negli USA, però, è un cricket quasi invisibile ai più, giocato da asiatici e caraibici in parchi maltenuti. Durante una partita, Hans conosce Chuck Ramkissoon, che lo prende in simpatia e lo coinvolge nel suo grande sogno: costruire appena fuori New York un enorme stadio e ristabilire il cricket come sport americano, quale era prima che il baseball lo superasse in popolarità. È un sogno che a Chuck finirà per costare caro.Chi non conosce regole e miti del cricket si perde almeno un quarto di romanzo, quanto a sfumature e rimandi. Per questo dubito che possa mai venire tradotto da noi (dove praticamente il 99% del pubblico è ignaro anche soltanto della natura dello sport in questione); e nel caso lo fosse, visto che tanto ormai dall'inglese a torto o a ragione si traduce di tutto, dubito che possa venire tradotto *bene*, ma questo alla fine è il parere di uno che per puro caso è sia traduttore sia appassionato di cricket. "Netherland" però è anche una più che discreta analisi dell’animo di un quasi quarantenne che in una città che non è la sua perde certi punti di riferimento per poi trovarne altri dove forse non se li aspetterebbe, con qualche punta di umorismo e venature di noir. Soprattutto è scritto con una notevole ricercatezza. Troppa, quasi, per un romanzo contemporaneo in inglese, al punto che in certi passaggi si ha come la sensazione che O’Neill voglia far vedere di proposito *quanto* è ricercato, finendo spesso per appesantire i periodi. La sua è comunque narrativa solida, che anela alla Letteratura senza però raggiungerla. ( )
  plivo | Apr 21, 2018 |
Niet mijn ding ( )
  ingridleu | Sep 11, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 138 (next | show all)
added by AAGP | editSlate Audio Book Club (Jul 16, 2008)
...the narrative is unwieldily organised, the supporting characters are underdeveloped and the dialogue is often pretty bad....

The biggest problem, though, is Hans himself. In addition to being much less interesting than Chuck, he tells the story in a determinedly overambitious style....

O'Neill's take on the notion of the American dream is both unsentimental and cleverly attuned to that notion's grip on the local imagination. Perhaps stories of striving immigrants and America's ambiguous promise speak to New York reviewers on frequencies inaudible to outsiders. O'Neill has said that he wrote the book as "an American novel ... My first novel as an American novelist", and in this respect, he seems to have succeeded.
Netherland has been described variously as a "post-colonial" and a "Great American" novel. But this beguilingly subtle work transcends old geographical, political and temporal confinements as it renders the strange mutations, partial visions and bewilderments of our globalised world.
added by zhejw | editThe Guardain, Pankaj Mishra (Jun 6, 2008)
Despite cricket’s seeming irrelevance to America, the game makes his exquisitely written novel “Netherland” a large fictional achievement, and one of the most remarkable post-colonial books I have ever read.
added by zhejw | editThe New Yorker, James Wood (May 26, 2008)
...the wittiest, angriest, most exacting and most desolate work of fiction we’ve yet had about life in New York and London after the World Trade Center fell. On a micro level, it’s about a couple and their young son living in Lower Manhattan when the planes hit, and about the event’s rippling emotional aftermath in their lives. On a macro level, it’s about nearly everything: family, politics, identity. I devoured it in three thirsty gulps, gulps that satisfied a craving I didn’t know I had.
added by zhejw | editNew York Times, Dwight Garner (May 18, 2008)

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
O'Neill, Josephprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Leistra, AukeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I dream'd in a dream, I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth;

I dream'd that was the new City of Friends.

To Sally
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The afternoon before I left London for New York - Rachel had flown out six weeks previously - I was in my cubicle at work, boxing up my possessions, when a senior vice president at the bank, an Englishman in his fifties, came to wish me well.
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Hans et Rachel vivent à New York avec leur jeune fils lorsque surviennent les attentats du 11 Septembre. Quelque jours plus tard , ils se séparent , et Hans se retrouvent seul , perdu dan Manhatatn , où il ne ent plus chez lui . Sur des terrains de fortune Hans tente d'echapper à la mélancolie . Ce très beau livre , souvent compare à Gatsby le Magnifique , est à la fois une parabole sur la findu rêve américain et un roman d'amour aux résonances poignantes.
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