Netherland review

I don’t live in New York City. I don’t play cricket. Why then do I keep picking up books about the disorientation of living in post 9/11 New York (see Chronic City) and the civility of cricket (see Psmith in the City)? Joseph O’Neill came to Salt Lake City and signed copies of Netherland at Winter Institute prior to receiving the PEN/Faulkner Award, so I did have two valid reasons for reading this book. Which leaves the question of timing. Why did I wait until now to read it? I had picked it up earlier but another book interposed it’s way on to my reading list. Had I read Netherland at another time I’m confident I would have enjoyed it more. It is well-written and award-worthy, it has a cast of original characters, and I identified with the malaise that held the protagonist in an inert state despite not sharing his Dutch/Englishman in New York background, his enthusiasm for cricket, or his income bracket. I identified with Hans against my will; I’m weary of the malaise. Netherland is indeed a relevant book, but it’s not the kind of book I’d like to be reading  at the moment. I’ve had enough of New York City. I’m going to hold off on reading Joanna Smith Rakoff’s A Fortunate Age as a result and get back to some non-fiction.

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One Response to “Netherland review”

  1. I did cleanse my fiction palette with The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester before resuming with The Secret Speech.

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