In early 2006, Chuck Ramkissoon is found dead at the bottom of a New York canal. In London, a Dutch banker named Hans van den Broek hears the news, and remembers his unlikely friendship with Chuck and the off-kilter New York in which it flourished: the New York of 9/11, the powercut and the Iraq war. Those years were difficult for Hans - his ...
In early 2006, Chuck Ramkissoon is found dead at the bottom of a New York canal. In London, a Dutch banker named Hans van den Broek hears the news, and remembers his unlikely friendship with Chuck and the off-kilter New York in which it flourished: the New York of 9/11, the powercut and the Iraq war. Those years were difficult for Hans - his English wife Rachel left with their son after the attack, as if that event revealed the cracks and silences in their marriage, and he spent two strange years in New York's Chelsea Hotel, passing stranger evenings with the eccentric residents. Lost in a country he'd regarded as his new home, Hans sought comfort in a most alien place - the thriving but almost invisible world of New York cricket, in which immigrants from Asia and the West Indies play a beautiful, mystifying game on the city's most marginal parks. It was during these games that Hans befriends Chuck Ramkissoon, who dreamed of establishing the city's first proper cricket field. Over the course of a summer, Hans grew to share Chuck's dream and Chuck's sense of American possibility - until he began to glimpse the darker meaning of his new friend's activities and ambitions. 'Netherland' is a novel of belonging and not belonging, and the uneasy state in between. It is a novel of a marriage foundering and recuperating, and of the shallows and depths of male friendship. With it, Joseph O'Neill has taken the anxieties and uncertainties of our new century and fashioned a work of extraordinary beauty and brilliance.
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Publishers Weekly, 2008-10-27 Tony award-winner Jefferson Mays (I Am My Own Wife) follows the lead of author O'Neill for his reading of the lauded novel about Dutchman Hans van der Broek and the unusual bond he forms with fellow cricket buff and New York dreamer extraordinaire Chuck Ramkissoon. O'Neill's crisp, layered narrative and interest in the less-traveled byways of Brooklyn are reflected in Mays's understated take on Hans's narration (interestingly, he does not attempt a Dutch accent); Chuck's light, fruity Caribbean accent; and the denser accent of Chuck's wife. Mays is nothing if not a talented performer, and while there may be less than meets the eye to O'Neill's celebrated work, Mays's reading is a joy. A Pantheon hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 3). (Sept.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-03-03 Hans van den Broek, the Dutch-born narrator of O'Neill's dense, intelligent novel, observes of his friend, Chuck Ramkissoon, a self-mythologizing entrepreneur-gangster, that "he never quite believed that people would sooner not have their understanding of the world blown up, even by Chuck Ramkissoon." The image of one's understanding of the world being blown up is poignant--this is Hans's fate after 9/11. He and wife Rachel abandon their downtown loft, and, soon, Rachel leaves him behind at their temporary residence, the Chelsea Hotel, taking their son, Jake, back to London. Hans, an equities analyst, is at loose ends without Rachel, and in the two years he remains Rachel-less in New York City, he gets swept up by Chuck, a Trinidadian expatriate Hans meets at a cricket match. Chuck's dream is to build a cricket stadium in Brooklyn; in the meantime, he operates as a factotum for a Russian gangster. The unlikely (and doomed from the novel's outset) friendship rises and falls in tandem with Hans's marriage, which falls and then, gradually, rises again. O'Neill (This Is the Life) offers an outsider's view of New York bursting with wisdom, authenticity and a sobering jolt of realism. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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