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Netherland

by Joseph O'Neill

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,1011463,040 (3.41)243
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)
  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 243 mentions

English (140)  Dutch (4)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (146)
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
DNF ( )
  Terrie2018 | Feb 21, 2020 |
An ok read. Not that much depth, kind of trite.It won a lot of awards - I don't see the greatness thats being talking up. ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 140 (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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Epigraph
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.

Whitman
Dedication
To Sally
First words
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

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Book description
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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