Netherland

O'Neill, Joseph

9780307377043

ISBN 10: 0307377040 / 0-307-37704-0
ISBN 13: 9780307377043
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Publication Date: 2008
Binding: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis:
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. Ramkissoon, a Gatsby-like figure who is part idealist and part operator, introduces Hans to an “other” New York populated by immigrants and strivers of every race and nationality. Hans is alternately seduced and instructed by Chuck’s particular brand of naivete and chutzpah--by his ability to a hold fast to a sense of American and human possibility in which Hans has come to lose faith.

Netherland gives us both a flawlessly drawn picture of a little-known New York and a story of much larger, and brilliantly achieved ambition: the grand strangeness and fading promise of 21st century America from an outsider’s vantage point, and the complicated relationship between the American dream and the particular dreamers. Most immediately, though, it is the story of one man--of a marriage foundering and recuperating in its mystery and ordinariness, of the shallows and depths of male friendship, of mourning and memory. Joseph O’Neill’s prose, in its conscientiousness and beauty, involves us utterly in the struggle for meaning that governs any single life.

Review:

‘O'Neill writes about cricket not with Beckettian economy, but with an insider's knowledge and a metaphorical sweep that recalls John Updike's paeans to basketball that run like an elegy for lost youth, and lost American innocence, though his epic series of Rabbit novels…a novel full of vividly descriptive passages that posses a heightened, almost hallucinatory, brilliance…Perhaps what O'Neill has written here is indeed a novel that meditates on the Great American Dream. “Netherland” certainly has the scope and sweep of such an epic undertaking…In a work that constantly echoes but never imitates, novels by Updike, Ford and yes, Fitzgerald, Joseph O'Neill has created in Hans van den Broek an unlikely hero for our uncertain times. A great American novel, then, but one with an ordinary European Everyman at its centre.’ Observer

'A great American novel, but one with an ordinary European Everyman at its centre.' Sean O'Hagan, Observer

'An exquisitely written novel, a large fictional achievement, and one of the most remarkable post-colonial books I have ever read' James Wood, New Yorker

‘An extraordinary novel … O'Neill is a writer of dizzying elegance.' Daniel Swift, Financial Times

'Joseph O'Neill's brilliant, haunting new novel.' Telegraph

'Joseph O'Neill's beautiful new novel.' Pankaj Mishra, Guardian

'A stunning new novel' Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

'A remarkable new novel' Declan Hughes, Irish Times

'Touched by greatness' Ed Caesar, Sunday Times

'It is hard to know which is stranger - that a great American novel has been written about cricket or that a great cricket novel should be set in America. But both are true. Netherland, a state-of-the-nation exploration of contemporary America, is ambitious, intelligent and deeply perceptive…whether a huge six or a home run - whatever the metaphor of your choice Netherland - comes right out of the middle of the bat.' Ed Smith, The Times

‘A captivating new novel.’ Alan Hollinghurst, New York Review of Books

'Somewhere between the towns of Saul Bellow and Ian
McEwan, O'Neill has pitched his miraculous tent … The reader, almost imperceptibly, becomes little by little scorched by the novel's brilliance, irradiated by it, benignly." Sebastian Barry

'New York is not what most people imagine it to be. Just as marriage, family, friendship and manhood are not. Netherland is suspensful, artful, psychologically pitch-perfect, and a wonderful read. But more than any of that, it's revelatory. Joseph O'Neill has managed to paint the most famous city in the world, and the most familiar concept in the world (love) in an entirely new way.' Jonathan Safran Foer

‘O'Neill writes a prose of Banvillean grace and beauty, shimmering with truthfulness, as poised as it unsettling. As well, this is a story that is hard to put down, for its characters are so real and their preoccupations so urgently of the now, that the book has the vividness of breaking news. He is a master of the long sentence, of the half-missed moment, of the strange archeology of the troubled marriage. Many have tried to write a great American novel. Joseph O'Neill has succeeded.’ Joseph O’Connor

‘An outstanding new novel’ Adam Kushner, Newsweek

'Great cricket novels can be counted on one hand…Netherland looks as if it may top the lot!' Observer Sports

‘So expertly woven that it is impossible for a patient reader not to admire what it essentially is - a beautifully written exploration of memory and self.’ Beth Jones, Sunday Telegraph

‘A near-perfect work: an instant classic of post-9/11 literature about its urbane Dutch-born hero's unlikely twin passions, New York and cricket.’ Paul Levy, Wall Street Journal

Mail on Sunday, Books of the Year

Guardian Books of the Decade, 2008

Review

Review:
'New York is not what most people imagine it to be. Just as marriage, family, friendship and manhood are not. Netherland is suspensful, artful, psychologically pitch-perfect, and a wonderful read. But more than any of that, it's revelatory. Joseph O'Neill has managed to paint the most famous city in the world, and the most familiar concept in the world (love) in an entirely new way.' Jonathan Safran Foer

`O'Neill writes a prose of Banvillean grace and beauty, shimmering with truthfulness, as poised as it unsettling. As well, this is a story that is hard to put down, for its characters are so real and their preoccupations so urgently of the now, that the book has the vividness of breaking news. He is a master of the long sentence, of the half-missed moment, of the strange archeology of the troubled marriage. Many have tried to write a great American novel. Joseph O'Neill has succeeded.' Joseph O'Connor

'Somewhere between the towns of Saul Bellow and Ian McEwan, O'Neill has pitched his miraculous tent ... The reader, almost imperceptibly, becomes little by little scorched by the novel's brilliance, irradiated by it, benignly." Sebastian Barry

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