- This is about the novel. For the country, see Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...
(2008) is a critically acclaimed novel by Joseph O'Neill
Joseph O'Neill is a Irish novelist and non-fiction writer. O'Neill's novel Netherland was awarded the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.-Life:...
. It concerns the life of a Dutchman living in New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...
in the wake of the September 11 attacks who takes up cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...
and starts playing at the Staten Island Cricket Club
The Staten Island Cricket Club is a cricket club on Staten Island, New York that was incorporated as the Staten Island Cricket and Base Ball Club on March 22, 1872. It became the first tennis venue in the United States.- History :...
For while the protagonist, Hans van den Broek, chooses cricket as his refuge, there's a lot more going on here than the "sport of gentlemen". Hans is an immigrant — Dutch-born and now residing in Manhattan, with his wife and young son. He's desperate to fit in and goes through the whole rigmarole of gaining his US drivers' license, if only to become that little bit more embedded in the culture. Connecting with people who play cricket in New York is yet another way he can "connect", albeit with an immigrant underclass. And, tellingly, the one man with whom he forges a tentative friendship, Chuck Ramkissoon, winds up being pulled out of a New York canal with his hands tied behind his back.
was published in May 2008 and was featured on the cover of the New York Times Book Review
where Dwight Garner
Dwight Garner is an American journalist, now a literary critic for The New York Times. Prior to that he was senior editor at the New York Times Book Review, where he worked from 1999 to 2009...
(NYTBR senior editor) called it "the wittiest, angriest, most exacting and most desolate work of fiction we’ve yet had about life in New York and London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...
after the World Trade Center fell". Later that year, the book was included in the prestigious New York Times Book Review
list of "10 Best Books of 2008" as chosen by the paper's editors.
James Wood is a literary critic, essayist and novelist. he is Professor of the Practice of Literary Criticism at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine.-Background and education:...
, writing in the New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...
, called it "one of the most remarkable postcolonial books I have ever read". He wrote that it has been "consistently misread as a 9/11 novel, which stints what is most remarkable about it: that it is a postcolonial re-writing of The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published in1925, it is set on Long Island's North Shore and in New York City from spring to autumn of 1922....
." In an interview with the author published at the end of the Harper Perennial paperback edition, Joseph O'Neill remarks, "Clearly Netherland
is having some sort of conversation with The Great Gatsby
—saying goodbye to it perhaps, and to some of the notions associated with that wonderful book."
Awards and nominations
In the weeks leading up the announcement of the 2008 Man Booker Prize
The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original full-length novel, written in the English language, by a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland, or Zimbabwe. The winner of the Man Booker Prize is generally assured of international renown and...
was spoken of by some literary pundits as being the favourite to win. However, on September 9, 2008, the Booker nominee shortlist was announced and the novel, surprisingly at least for some critics at the New York Times
, failed to make the list. The book was also nominated for the Warwick Prize for Writing
The Warwick Prize for Writing is an international cross-disciplinary prize, worth £50,000, that will be given biennially for an excellent and substantial piece of writing in the English language, in any genre or form, on a theme that will change with every award. It was launched and sponsored by...
(2008/9) and made it to the long list of that prize announced in November 2008.
won the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is awarded annually by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation to the authors of the year's best works of fiction by living American citizens. The winner receives US $15,000 and each of four runners-up receives US $5000. The foundation brings the winner and runners-up to...
, and the 2009 Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award
The Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award is an annual award for Irish authors of fiction, established in 1995. It was previously known as the Kerry Ingredients Book of the Year Award and the Kerry Ingredients Irish Fiction Award ....
On April 12, 2010 Netherland was announced as one of the 8 novels on the shortlist for the 2010 Dublin Literary Award
The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is an international literary award for a work of fiction, jointly sponsored by the city of Dublin, Ireland and the company IMPAC. At €100,000 it is one of the richest literary prizes in the world...
The punning title is untranslatable into Dutch, and the Dutch translation takes the title Laagland
("Lowland") rather than the more literal but ambiguous Nederland
- Two Paths for the Novel, Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith is a British novelist. To date she has written three novels. In 2003, she was included on Granta's list of 20 best young authors...
review of Netherland from The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books is a fortnightly magazine with articles on literature, culture and current affairs. Published in New York City, it takes as its point of departure that the discussion of important books is itself an indispensable literary activity...
(Interview with Joseph O'Neill)
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...
interview with Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...
praising the novel.
- Netherland: 1st Obama Book Club Selection - A review of Obama's taste in reading.
- Review: Netherland – The New York Times
- Neitherlander - An Irishman's Difficulties with The Dutch Character Comments by a Dutchman