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Netherland

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Imagine F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby updated for our modern age. Then turn it into a poignant expat novel, and infuse it with a love of cricket. The result of that imagination is Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland.

For different reasons New York looms large in the minds of Netherland’s inhabitants: perennially detached Dutchman Hans van dan Broek, his practical English wife Rachel, and his larger-than-life Trinidadian friend Chuck Ramkissoon. In the New York after the 9/11 attacks, the setting of Hans and Rachel’s marital trouble, the stage for a shifting portrait of identity, and the infertile ground for a transplanted sport, the city is an engrossing setting for a new type of American novel curiously devoid of Americans.

I won’t spoil the fun, but I will say that Netherland is a fascinating character novel that, even when it veers off track at times, is essentially a rumination on expatdom, immigration, cricket, and a wistful version of the American dream.

Netherland by Joseph O’Neill. New York: Vintage, 2009. 272 pages. Buy the book in Europe or buy the book in North America.


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Imagine F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby updated for our modern age. Then turn it into a poignant expat novel, and infuse it with a love of cricket. The result of that imagination is Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland.

Netherland

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