4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
a truly great novel!,
This review is from: Netherland (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.