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Netherland Hardcover – 5 May 2008

159 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; 1st Edition edition (5 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007269064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007269068
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 22.5 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 164,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joseph O'Neill is an Irish barrister living in New York. He is the author of three previous novels, 'Netherland' (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008), 'This Is the Life' and 'The Breezes', as well as a memoir, 'Blood-Dark Track'.

Product Description

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

From the Publisher

'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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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Cork on 11 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
Netherland seems to have drawn reviews from opposite ends of the spectrum, people either love or hate it. I felt it was the best novel (along with the Road by Cormac McCArthy) I have read in some time.
It is true that there is no linear story here, also true that the characters dont try in anyway to be likelable or at times even interesting. In my mind Netherland takes on the biggest themes facing people today and how could these themes be examined if not through people that had real traits and character. After all how many real people are, linear, always interesting or even likeable?
The theme of finding a place in the World is explored beautifully. Hans throughout his life has never really felt like he belonged and seems to attach himself to people that give him a sense of place, this is the mechanism for introducing most of the supporting characters in the novel. This even seems to apply to his wife, who for mind, is not the kind of partner most people would cross continents for. But Hans has an "idea" of belonging and that includes his wife and son.
His journey to this state of fitting in is the backbone of the novel, but the eventual outcome makes little difference it is Hans journey that engages. I related to the character and the themes (despite being nothing like him)and I think anyone who constantly engages with their place in the World will see pieces of themselves in Hans and his comrades.
The prose is wordy and sometimes too much so, but there are moments and sentences in this novel that will make you stop and read them again for their insight and beauty. I find myself picking it up, randomly openinig a page and reading it.
This is literature. Joesph O'Neill is a writer. He doesnt really care what the reader thinks and thats a good thing for because of his density of thought and breath of theme he has created a truly great book.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
The narrator is all-important in this wonderful book. He's a Dutchman adrift in New York when his wife decides to return to her English parents with their small son, Jake. Hans is an analyst in oil and gas conglomerates and his job is just too lucrative to relinquish, and so he opts to stay, returning to England at fortnightly intervals to spend a weekend with his little son. Shortly after his wife, Rachel, leaves he happens upon a group of immigrants playing cricket, such a bizarre apparition that it prompts him to join them, and there he meets Chuck Ramkissoon, a West Indian naturalised American, who is a fabulist and some-time entrepreneur, who later turns out to have darker sidelines that Hans only gradually discovers.

If you, like me, don't care for, or even understand the game of cricket, don't fear that you'll be embroiled in endless descriptions of the thwack of leather on willow, this novel is not about cricket in that way. Cricket is a mechanism to explore the city of New York with its ability to create the diaspora of almost everywhere else. What captivates is the voice of Hans describing his life, his love for his wife, Rachel and his child, and the gift of friendship with Chuck, who has endless stories to tell, as well as fantasies to dream about.

Wry, gentle, sensuous and sensitive, Hans battles to understand himself, his wife and the city of New York and we learn much about the history of the city and its inhabitants in this stunningly intimate and moving narrative. This is an absorbing and captivating read, one of the most memorably pleasurable books I've come across this year.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Green Star on 5 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Really can't think of a fault. An intriguing plot, with thoughts and ideas slipping backwards and forwards over time and place. There are all manner of components - evocations of childhood, the unpicking of relationships, visually memorable scenes and images, and humour slipped in between sorrow and angst, to name but a few. I had to admit feeling relieved to read later that it took the author 7 years to write this - it tells in the glittering prose.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tracey on 29 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
Towards the end of Netherland, the protagonist Hans cuttingly tells his friend Chuck: "There is a difference between grandiosity and thinking big." This is something the author Joseph O'Neill would have done well to ponder. Time after time, the cover plaudits speak of this novel being brilliantly written, and in places it certainly is. Far too often, however, the narrative gets bogged down in self-consciously clever phrases which felt to me like wading through treacle. Hans can't just look at ice on a window; he has to be torn "between a ridiculous loathing of this obdurate wintry ectoplasm and a equally ridiculous tenderness stimulated by a solid's battle against the forces of liquefaction." Far from being moved or inspired by the image, I was simply left to wonder quite how long it had taken O'Neill to craft that one. There are worse examples, but they are so long and and have such tortuous sub-clauses that it seems unkind to inflict them on others.

According to the cover, Jeremy Paxman feels the novel captures the cultural diversity of New York ( or "that ideal source of the metropolitan diversion that serves as a response to the largest futilities," as Hans would have it), but does Netherland really do this? Hans' sense of being an outsider looking in is clear but he is Dutch, for goodness sake. The Trinidadian Chuck is well drawn within the rather limited part he plays, but characters from elsewhere in the world have only cameo roles and do not contribute to a meaningful portrayal of a multi-cultural city. Wouldn't it have been more interesting to learn something - anything - about the other members of the Staten Island cricket team rather then the finer points of grass cultivation?
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