Friday, June 25, 2010

Recent Reading: Joseph O'Neill's Award-winning Novel, 'Netherland'

The AT gang likes to keep abreast of contemporary writing and writers, as our regular readers will attest.

We're deliberately eclectic in our literary tastes, reading nonfiction (recently, a lot of Iraq war books) as well as fiction, old and new.

Our most recent serious novel (we're skipping John Grisham's The Rainmaker) is Netherland, a 2008 novel by the Irish-born writer Joseph O'Neill. 

Netherland is a curious but lovely book, sophisticated enough to win critical praise and the Pen/Faulkner Award. It is the story of Hans van den Brock, a Dutchman working in New York who finds himself friends with a shady but lively cricket fanatic named Chuck Ramkissoon.

Indeed, the novel is something of a philosophical contemplation of cricket, a game we don't understand. Despite that problem, O'Neill's prose is so gorgeous and his story so unusual that we were quickly seduced, easily falling for his emotionally fraught characters and their lives.

To sum up: Netherland is a beautiful novel for the right reader, a reader open to sensitive language, delicate relationships and an original vision of the American city. 

Note: We'd like to hear from other Netherland fans. If you've read it and want to offer an opinion, post it below.

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