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Netherland by Joseph O'Neill


by Joseph O'Neill

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,8621412,023 (3.44)235
  1. 50
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (heidialice)
  2. 31
    Saturday by Ian McEwan (thesearch)
    thesearch: Sleekly written intimate post 9/11 portraits.
  3. 00
    Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  4. 00
    The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (jayne_charles)
    jayne_charles: Both have stunning writing making up for absence of plot, and common ground in terms of the immigrant experience in New York
  5. 00
    The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem (Othemts)
  6. 00
    Playing hard ball by E. T. Smith (Othemts)
  7. 00
    The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (sushidog, rjuris)
    sushidog: Perhaps an odd recommendation, but both novels explore a (temporary) immigrant's experience in America.
  8. 01
    Man in the Dark by Paul Auster (rjuris)

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» See also 235 mentions

English (135)  Dutch (4)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All (141)
Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
Niet mijn ding ( )
  ingridleu | Sep 11, 2016 |
Okay, an overpaid Dutch guy that married the wrong woman and temporarily emigrated to New York gets caught up in 9/11 – and the aftermath – loses the wife for a while (they have a son, so he loses him also), finds a distraction in cricket and a shady Trinidadian friend, meditates on the “real” New York (and America, I suppose), moves back to London and regains the family. A beautifully written book at times, but not nearly as important or stunning as it was made out to be. ( )
  Hagelstein | Aug 31, 2016 |
“Perhaps the relevant truth is that we all find ourselves in temporal currents and that unless you're paying attention you'll discover, often too late, that an undertow of weeks or of years has pulled you deep into trouble.”

Set in New York shortly after the 9/11 bombings this novel is in part immigrants chasing the American dream but also about re-building one's life after traumatic events.

The narrator, Dutchman Hans van den Broek, finds himself marooned when his wife and young son leave to live in England as his marriages disintegrates. Hans has a high powered job which keeps him occupied on week days but at the weekend he is at a loss as to what to do with his life until he joins a local cricket club which rekindles memories of a happier childhood in Holland.

Umpiring one of the games is Chuck Ramkissoon, a shady but charming Trinidadian businessman whose dream is to build a major international cricket stadium in Brooklyn. Under the cover of teaching him to drive Chuck allows Hans to chauffeur him around town as Chuck runs a numbers racket. The two form an unlikely friendship. Chuck’s innate optimism and force of purpose come to represent a lifeline to Hans if he is brave enough to grasp. However, it is not without possible cost as Chuck's driving ambition seems to mean that he is willing to do almost anything to make his dream come true. When Chuck's murdered body turns up in a New York river Hans is forced to re-evaluate their relationship.

The plot of this novel thus runs on two tracks. In the first it is about a couple of blokes living in Manhattan and enjoying the game of cricket. However, as Hans marriage fails he is forced to re-evaluate his take on family, identity and self-worth.

O’Neill’s prose is well thought out and written scattered with closely observed and powerful emotions which seem to be well in touch with the technical age we live in now as Hans goes “flying on Google’s satellite function,” searching for his son's bedroom window thousands of miles away. It is also full of cricketing terms but this shouldn't really deter non-fans of the sport. Overall an interesting read but in truth one that failed to grab me fully. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Jun 1, 2016 |
A very few of you might remember my review of Swamplandia!, in which I lamented that I had to write a fairly negative review despite the sheer and impressive beauty of Russell's prose.

This review is the stunted offspring of that one. O'Neill's prose is undeniably lovely, but where Russell lost me with a slightly too odd-and-fantastical plot, O'Neill simply left me trudging through endless paragraphs wondering where they were going (if anywhere).

Read the rest of my review here (with pictures!): http://bravenewbookshelves.blogspot.com/2012/10/never-netherland.html ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
Cricket represents some sort male bonding vehicle in this story of immigrants and friendship. There seems to be a desire to express the ineffable in this novel. I suppose, to a large extent, O’Neill succeeds. I just couldn’t get too excited about it. My favorite moments involved the narrator’s fellow residents at the Chelsea Hotel. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 135 (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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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307388778, Paperback)

Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Joseph O'Neill

Joseph O’Neill was born in Ireland and raised in Holland. He received a law degree from Cambridge University and worked as a barrister in London. He writes regularly for The Atlantic Monthly and is the author of two previous novels, This Is the Life and The Breezes, and of a family history, Blood-Dark Track, which was a New York Times Notable Book. O'Neill received the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for his third novel, Netherland. He lives with his family in New York City.

Question: President Obama mentioned in a New York Times Magazine profile that he’s reading Netherland. How do you feel about the President reading your book?

Joseph O'Neill: I'm very honored, of course.

Question: How is the world of Netherland particular to the United States after 9/11?

Joseph O'Neill: The story takes place in the aftermath of 9/11. One of the things it does is try to evoke the disorientation and darkness of that time, which we only emerged from with the election of President Obama.

Question: What is the importance of the sport of cricket in this book? Do you play?

Joseph O'Neill: I love sport and play cricket and golf myself. Sport is a wonderful way to bring together people who would otherwise have no connection to each other.

Question: One of your reviewers calls Netherland an answer to The Great Gatsby. Were you influenced by Fitzgerald’s book, and was your book written with that book in mind?

Joseph O'Neill: Halfway through the book I realized with a slightly sinking feeling that the plot of Netherland was eerily reminiscent of the Gatsby plot: dreamer drowns, bystander remembers. But there are only about 5 plots in existence, so I didn't let it bother me too much. Fitzgerald thankfully steered clear of cricket.

Question: Many reviewers have commented on the “voice” of this novel. How it is more a novel of voice than of plot? Do you agree with this?

Joseph O'Neill: Yes, I would agree with that comment. This is not a novel of eventful twists and turns. It is more like a long-form international cricket match (which can last for 5 days without a winner emerging), about nuance and ambiguity and small slippages of insight. And about language, of course.

(Photo © Lisa Acherman)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:34 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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)

» see all 7 descriptions

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